Privacy Policy

Online Safety Procedures

During your chat, you do not have to share any personal information like your age, name or where you live. We also recommend that you not record or store any sessions in order to protect your privacy.
While no online communication can be 100% secure, BARCC has taken many steps to ensure the privacy, confidentiality and safety of the web chat hotline (details outlined in our Privacy Policy and User Agreement below).

Below are also some steps and precautions you may want to consider to protect your information before, during and after using the BARCC web chat hotline or

NOTE: If you have any reason to suspect that someone may be tracking your computer or mobile device usage, it may not be safe to use the web chat hotline even with these precautions. If someone is tracking your device/internet usage they may notice if you delete records of internet activity (i.e. cache, history, and cookies) or call logs, etc.

If you have concerns about your online safety or privacy you can access our hotline support through our 24-7 phone hotline at 800-841-8371. Additionally, we have Legal Advocates who can help you explore privacy and safety options, our hotline crisis counselors on the web chat or phone can offer information on accessing BARCC Legal Advocacy.

Clearing Cache, History & Cookies
Once you have finished your chat, you can clear your device’s cache and history, then erase the cookies on your device. This prevents anyone from going into your device and checking up on your internet activity.

Below are some links to information on clearing your cache, history and cookies in various browsers. If you don’t know the type of browser you are using, click Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. The drop down menu that appears should include a line that says something like “About ___” (i.e. About Chrome OS), this is referencing the type of browser you are using.

Google Chrome (Desktop, Android and/or iPhone & iPad)
Clear cache & cookies:
Delete your Chrome browsing history:

Mozilla Firefox / Netscape
Clear cache:
Delete cookies:
Delete browsing, search and download history:

Security and Privacy in Opera:

Clear the history and cookies on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:
Clear your browsing history on Mac:
Manage cookies and website data on Mac:

Internet Explorer
Delete cookies:
Delete browsing history:

Protecting Yourself from Keystroke Logging
Keystroke logging is when someone has installed hardware or software onto your computer/device that tracks all typing that you do. This means that they can trace everything you do on your computer/device from what you type to tracking down usernames and passwords. For obvious reasons this is a dangerous and aggressive form of tracking and can be a difficult thing to trace. For more information on how to see if you have keystroke logging, and what possible options are for removal visit the following article: How To Detect Keylogger & Remove It From Computer

Google Desktop Search
Google Desktop Search is a tool that allows you to search for files in your computer or device in a way similar to Google’s online search engine. The desktop search may save a record of logins/passwords, web pages you visit and information that you are storing, sharing and/or accessing on your device. If you have Google Desktop Search on your device you may want to disable it before accessing the web chat hotline to protect your privacy.

Protecting Yourself from Viruses and Spyware
Viruses and spyware on your computer could compromise the safety and privacy of your information. We’d recommend maintaining up to date anti-virus/anti-spyware software on your computer. This link contains a list of anti-virus/anti-spyware programs you may want to consider if you do not already have them installed.

Privacy Policy
Effective November 2018

This Privacy Policy is intended to describe how the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (“BARCC”, “we” or “us”) collects, uses and discloses information gathered through the BARCC web chat Hotline (“web chat hotline”) which can be reached through, or other related sites of BARCC or it’s partners. Information about confidentiality and privacy related to BARCC’s website instead can be viewed at

By using the web chat hotline, you agree to follow the terms and conditions of this privacy policy. BARCC may change these terms and conditions from time to time without prior notification, and such changes will be effective upon posting, so please consult this privacy policy each time you use the web chat hotline. If you do not agree with these policies you should not use the web chat hotline.

Your privacy and security are very important to us. The information in this privacy policy will help you understand what information we collect online, and how we handle that information once we collect it. This policy will tell you if we disclose that information to anyone, and what choices you have regarding how we use that information. Please note that this privacy policy applies only to BARCC’s web chat Hotline, and not to the websites of any other organizations to which we may link or that may link to us.

If you have any questions or concerns about this privacy policy or the user agreement below please contact BARCC requesting to speak with the Hotline Services Program Manager at (617) 492-8306 or Alternatively, you can mail to:
Hotline Services Program Manager
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
99 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge MA, 02139

Information You Provide to Us:
BARCC operates the web chat hotline using a combination of trained staff, volunteers and contractors (referred to here as “crisis counselors”). Our crisis counselors include individuals who provide you with one-to-one help in the chat sessions, as well as their supervisors.

At times, as needed, a crisis counselor may ask their supervisor to join the chat to offer additional support. You will be notified in advance by the crisis counselor you are chatting with and the supervisor will only join the chat if you consent. In the event that the crisis counselor loses network connection they may ask their supervisor to finish the chat session with you. Any information that you share during a web chat hotline session will only be viewed by the individual assisting you, and will only be viewed by a supervisor in the two above mentioned scenarios.

The information conveyed by you to our crisis counselor during your web chat hotline session is intended to be part of a private conversation between you and the applicable crisis counselor. This conversation will NOT be recorded, stored, or saved. During this conversation you are not required to provide any information that you do not feel comfortable sharing.

Personally Identifiable Information:
"Personally Identifiable Information" is information that could reasonably be used to identify you, such as your name or address. The web chat hotline is intended to be an anonymous service and you are not required to provide your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, or any other personally identifiable information at any time during your use of the web chat hotline.

The web chat hotline provides an opportunity to share a first name for the crisis counselor to use during the chat session and if you share this information it is deleted immediately after the chat is ended. The crisis counselor may ask for information (including personally identifiable information) in order to provide you with referrals, to request services at BARCC, or in the case of mandated reporting or suicide/homicide interventions (more information below). You are not required to provide any information and refusal to provide information will not impact your ability to use the web chat hotline.

Mandated Reporting & Suicide/Homicide Interventions:
We are required by mandated reporting laws to record and report to a protection agency information regarding the abuse, neglect or exploitation of individuals who are under age 18, age 60 or over, who have a significant disability, or who are in long term care facilities.

Additionally we are required to report to emergency services or law enforcement if we have reason to believe that someone might act to take their own or someone else’s life.

If you convey such circumstances, and provide information that could lead us to identify your name and location, we may have to record such information and provide it to the appropriate protection agency or emergency services.

Aggregate Data
We use non-identifying information to improve our services, advocacy, and training based on user needs. We may share aggregate information (e.g., patterns and trends of topics discussed, number and length of chats) with donors, sponsors, supporters, media and other third parties to generate support for BARCC, its mission and its services, or as required by law. In these situations we do not disclose any information that could be used to identify you personally.
Further, in order to determine usage levels and average session length, and for other recordkeeping purposes, an entry will be made in a database containing the start and stop time of each session. Such information will not identify you personally.

Information we collect through Technology:
The web chat hotline does not capture any personally identifiable information about you or your device (computer, phone, tablet etc) before or during your use of the web chat hotline. Your IP address (an IP address is often associated with the portal through which you enter the internet) is NOT recorded or stored.

In general, a "cookie" is a small piece of text data stored on a user's computer by a website allowing the website to remember you and save your preferences. Cookies may contain personal identifiable information, or completely anonymous information, like a randomly generated number. They may be deleted once a user leaves the site, leaves a section of the site, or closes the browser (session cookies); or they may remain, so that the website "remembers" the user when they next visit (persistent cookies).

The web chat hotline does NOT place any permanent or "persistent" cookies on your computer. Although does use session cookies, as explained at, the cookies placed by cannot be used to identify you as a user of the web chat hotline.

How we protect your data:
BARCC stores all information on a secure server that is only accessible by BARCC employees, volunteers, or contractors, pursuant to the terms described above. Again, we do NOT store transcripts of communications over the web chat hotline.

BARCC employs a variety of security measures and techniques to ensure that all personal information is protected from unauthorized access, both online and offline, including the use standard encryption. For technical details, click the lock icon in the address bar of your browser.

You should be aware, however, that "perfect security" does not exist anywhere on the Internet. Although we believe we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that your personally identifiable information or communications with the web chat hotline will never be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this policy, and make no representations or warranties regarding the sufficiency of our security measures.

Always be careful and responsible regarding your personal information. We are not responsible for, and cannot control, the use by others of any information which you provide or divulge to others, purposefully or inadvertently. For more information on how to keep your computer or other device safe, please read our User Safety Procedures above.

While we may refer and/or link to third-party websites and resources, including non-profit and for-profit programs, we do not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the completeness, truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any content or services provided by others. Instead, any information is provided for you for evaluation purposes only when you make your own decisions about the identity and suitability of others whom you contact or interact with. We do not monitor or have any control over, and make no claim or representation regarding, third-party websites or services.

How we may use/share your information:
The data that we collect, and therefore could share is limited as described above. We do NOT store the transcript of any chat, your name or other personally identifiable information beyond the end of the chat and do not collect or store your computer’s IP address at all.

We do not publish, sell, share, or rent information about you except as outlined in this privacy policy. However, we may be required to disclose information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances. Such circumstances include (and you hereby authorize us to) disclosure of any information about you that we possess to law enforcement or other government officials as we, in our sole discretion, believe is necessary or appropriate, in connection with the investigation of a crime, fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal, or may expose us, or you, to liability. Also, we will contact emergency services or law enforcement if we believe that you will act to take your own or someone else’s life; or we will report to a protection agency as required by mandatory reporting laws.

Third Party Service Providers
We may use third party service providers to facilitate our services, such as the platform that hosts our web chat hotline. We may provide your personally identifiable information to such parties, if needed, however they will only have access to such information as is needed to perform their functions. Such parties may not use this information for any other purpose and are obligated to protect the confidentiality of such information.

Privileged Communication
All conversations on our web chat hotline with our trained crisis counselors (staff, volunteers and contractors included) are protected by Massachusetts Rape Crisis Counselor Privilege. This means that any information you share in the web chat is private and the crisis counselor cannot share that information without your explicit consent except in the scenarios outlined in this privacy policy.

Other Information Collectors
Except as otherwise expressly included in this privacy policy, this document addresses the collection, use and disclosure of information. If you disclose your information to others, different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of such information. We do not control the privacy policies of others. We encourage you to ask questions before you disclose your personal information to others.

Our Policy Towards Children
We are concerned about the safety and privacy of children who use the internet. Consistent with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, we will never knowingly request Personally Identifiable Information from anyone under the age of 13 without prior verifiable parental consent. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with Personally Identifiable Information through our web chat hotline without verifiable parental consent, we will use our best efforts to remove such information from our files. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that their child has provided us with Personally Identifiable Information through the web chat hotline without verifiable parental consent, they should contact BARCC requesting to speak with the Hotline Services Program Manager at (617) 492-8306 or

Do Not Track
BARCC does not track its visitors over time and across third party websites to provide targeted advertising and therefore does not respond to Do Not Track (“DNT”) signals. However, some third party sites do keep track of your browsing activities when they serve you content, which enables them to tailor what they present to you. If you are visiting such sites, your browser allows you to set the DNT signal so that third parties (particularly advertisers) know you do not want to be tracked. You should consult the help pages of your browser to learn how to set your preferences so that websites do not track you.

User Agreement

Use of our Sites and Content
All content included on the web chat hotline and, such as text, graphics, logos, buttons, icons, images, photographs, audio clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software, is the property of BARCC or its content supplier, and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.

Users of the web chat hotline may not copy, print, or distribute any of the content thereon, with the exception of resource information/articles provided to you. Such resources and information may be used only for informational, non-commercial purposes. Linking to and/or the web chat hotline is permitted, as long as the link does not imply or suggest that BARCC has endorsed or is affiliated with the linked site.

BARCC, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and other marks displayed on our web chat hotline and/or are trademarks of BARCC. All other trademarks displayed on the web chat hotline and/or, not owned by BARCC are, to our knowledge, the property of their respective owners, who may or may not be affiliated with BARCC. You may not use these trademarks without prior written consent.

Copyright Policy:
We respect the intellectual property rights of others and expect users of our web chat hotline to do the same. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us. If you believe that your Content has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please provide us with the following information: (i) a physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf; (ii) identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed; (iii) identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit us to locate the material; (iv) your contact information, including your address, telephone number, and an email address; (v) a statement by you that you have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and (vi) a statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and, under penalty of perjury, that you are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. Send your notice to BARCC’s Hotline Services Program Manager at or the address listed above.

Limits of Liability
BARCC and it’s employees, volunteers, donors, and affiliates will not be liable for any claims, liabilities, losses, costs, damages or injuries, including, but not limited to, any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental, or consequential “damages” that result from the use (or inability to use) our web chat hotline and it’s content, or a site or resource linked, including any damages or injury caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, computer/device virus, communication line failure, other computer/device malfunction, theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, alteration of or use of any asses whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, negligence or under any other cause of action, or any content obtained through use of the web chat hotline. This is true even if BARCC or related persons have been advised of the possibility of such damages or losses.

Linked Sites
The BARCC web chat hotline may link to or be linked from other sites that are not maintained by BARCC. BARCC does not endorse, and is not responsible for the content of, any site other than the web chat hotline and

The content on our web chat hotline may include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. We may shut down our web chat hotline and end this User Agreement and/or Privacy Policy at any time. However, in the event of such a termination, the Limitations of Liability, Disclaimer, and Governing Law sections would continue to apply.

Our web chat hotline is provided by BARCC on an “as is” and “as available” basis. BARCC makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of the web chat hotline or the information included on our web chat hotline. You expressly agree that your use of the web chat hotline is at your own sole risk. BARCC does not warrant that the information provided on the web chat hotline is accurate, reliable, or correct, that the web chat hotline will be available at any particular time or location, or that the web chat hotline is free of viruses or other harmful components.

Information and advice provided through the web chat hotline is not intended and shall not constitute professional counseling. web chat hotline sessions may be conducted by staffers (including volunteers) who are not professionals and may not be authorized to provide counseling services in certain states, web chat hotline sessions are not a substitute for professional counseling services. The information provided by our web chat hotline is not intended or implied to constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. In addition, nothing on our web chat hotline is intended to constitute legal advice.

The web chat hotline can provide information and referrals for professional services including medical services, legal support and counseling/therapy through BARCC or other agencies.

International Use
BARCC makes no claims the web chat hotline is accessible in locations outside the United States. Access to the web chat hotline from countries or territories where such access is illegal is prohibited. Furthermore, our databases are located in the United States. If you access this website from outside the United States, you do so at your own risk. By sharing any information, you consent to its transfer to and storage within the United States. Those who access the web chat hotline from outside the United States do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws, rules and regulations.

Governing Law
You agree that your use of our web chat hotline, this privacy policy, and the user agreement, and any disputes relating thereto shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the state of Massachusetts. Any dispute relating to this Agreement shall be resolved solely in the courts located in the state of Massachusetts. You agree to waive trial by jury in any such action.

Termination of Access to Website
We may, in our sole discretion, terminate or suspend your access to all or part of the web chat hotline at any time, with or without notice to you, for any reason, including, without limitation, breach of this user agreement and/or privacy policy. Additionally, any fraudulent, abusive, or otherwise illegal activity, or activity that may otherwise affect the safety or access to this web chat hotline by others, may be grounds for termination of your access to all or part of the web chat and/or at our sole discretion.

Revisions or Changes to Privacy Policy / User Agreement

We may, from time to time, make changes to this privacy policy and/or user agreement. If we make any substantial changes in the way we use your personal information, or to the rights and obligations set forth herein, we will update this page and post a prominent announcement on

If you have any questions or concerns about this privacy policy or user agreement please contact BARCC requesting to speak with the Hotline Services Program Manager at (617) 492-8306 or Alternatively, you can mail to:
Hotline Services Program Manager
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
99 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge MA, 02139