INSTANT MESSAGING SUPPORT SERVICE
The LGBT Helpline and Online Chat Service is available 7 days a week, from 6.30pm to 10pm Mon – Thur, from 4pm to 10pm Fridays, and from 4pm to 6pm on Sat & Sun.
Out of Hours: freephone the Samaritans 24/7, 365 days a year on 116 123 for support.
Our instant messaging support service is free, confidential and secure.
New to Instant Messaging?
Here’s what you need to know:
Instant Messenger Tips
Top Tips for Using Our Service
1. Be patient
Often, it might take a bit of time for a volunteer to become available. Use the time to think about what you’d like to say or to browse the LGBT Helpline website.
2. Focus on the chat
Once you get through, try and focus on the chat. It’s quicker and easier to get the help you need if you aren’t distracted.
3. Be honest
Don’t be afraid to say how you really feel and what help you really need. The chats are confidential, unless you or someone else's life is in danger, but even the action taken in these circumstances will be for your benefit. Find out more about our confidentiality policy here....(Copy of our policy attached separately – should be link to the policy here)
4. Let the volunteer know what you want to talk about
You can’t always prepare what you want to say but if there is something specific, tell them at the beginning of your chat.
5. Be aware that it takes longer to type than to talk
Don't worry if you can't cover everything that's on your mind in a single chat. Volunteers want to give you the best possible help so may sometimes need a few minutes to reply as well. If you feel like you can't stay on the chat for very long, let the volunteer know at the beginning. You can also call on our lo-call number 1890 929 539 to speak to a helpline volunteer.
6. Be understanding
Things aren’t always clear online. If the volunteer says something which you don't understand, ask them to clarify what they mean. If you ever feel a chat wasn't as useful as a previous one you've had, give it another chance - you may find that your next chat is really helpful.
7. Give yourself time for things to change
Unfortunately for most problems there is no immediate solution and it can take more than just one chat. Volunteers can’t fix your problems or tell you what to do but they can support and help you work out the next step.
8. Exiting a chat quickly
If you press ‘Emergency Exit’ on the right hand side of you screen at any point in your chat it will cut you off from the volunteer and take you to ‘Google’. This is a quick way to hide what you are doing if someone interrupts you. It does cut you off though, so you will have to request another chat. Be patient.
The LGBT Helpline takes confidentiality very seriously and all members of staff and volunteers work to a strict confidentiality policy. Nothing you say to a helpline volunteer or peer support facilitator will go beyond the LGBT Helpline service unless there is a genuine reason to believe that you might be at risk, that you might be a risk to others or that a minor or vulnerable adult might be at risk.
In these circumstances the LGBT Helpline National Co-ordinator will have to be informed of the relevant details and may have to contact someone outside of the service. In most cases you will be informed in advance about who is being contacted and why, and included in this process wherever possible.
Please be reassured that this is only in exceptional circumstances where there is a potential risk to yourself or others and/or where required by law.
If you ever feel that your confidentiality has not been respected or if there is any other aspect of the service which you are unhappy with please refer to our complaints procedure and notify us of the issue as soon as possible. We take all feedback as constructive and will act wherever possible to ensure the resolution of any issues and/or to prevent similar issues happening in the future.
The LGBT Helpline operates according to professional guidelines, policies and practices. If anybody wishes to make a complaint about the service that they received from the LGBT Helpline they are invited to partake in the following complaints procedure:
All users of the LGBT Helpline, including callers and peer support group members, who wish to make a complaint about the service they have received, are encouraged in the first instance to address their complaint directly to the member of the LGBT Helpline that the complaint concerns. If this proves unsatisfactory, or if they do not feel comfortable approaching the person directly, they should make their complaint to the LGBT Helpline’s National Co-ordinator by phone (01) 685 9280 or email to email@example.com.
If this is unsatisfactory you can contact the Chairperson of the LGBT Helpline Project by phone on (042) 932 9816 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All complaints will be dealt with in a strictly confidential manner.
The information and materials on LGBT Helpline web site unless otherwise stated, are copyrighted by LGBT Helpline, and may be utilised by registered users solely for their own personal use. Any other activity or reproduction of information and materials requires prior permission from the LGBT Helpline. In addition, the graphics, design and format of the LGBT Helpline are the property of the LGBT Helpline and may not be reproduced or distributed without permission.
LGBT.ie contains links to Internet web sites operated by third parties. These linked sites are not controlled by the LGBT Helpline and the LGBT Helpline is not responsible for the contents of any of these sites. We provide these links to you as a convenience only, and the inclusion of any link does not imply any endorsement of the linked website by the LGBT Helpline.
In addition the LGBT Helpline contains references to information materials developed by third parties. These information materials were not developed by the LGBT Helpline and the LGBT Helpline is not responsible for the contents of the materials. We provide references for these information materials as a convenience to you only.
The information provided throughout LGBT.ie is intended for information and support purposes only.
Site Usage Rules
Instant Message Users
- Do not post personal information, about yourself or anyone else.
- Do not promote illegal activities
- Do not look for medical advice
- Do not promote political, religious or ideological points of view
- Do not link to offensive/sexually explicit sites
- Do not advertise/promote services
- Do not astroturf/pretend to be someone else
- If you are under 18 years of age you need to let us know, so that our volunteers can direct you to services which deal specifically with younger people.
If you violate the terms and conditions for using this site, the LGBT Helpline can take any of the following actions:
- Issue a warning
- Terminate the instant message chat session.
- If we are made aware of any Child Protection concerns we have a duty of care to report these concerns to the appropriate authority. The safety and welfare of children are paramount.
- If we are concerned that you or another person are an immediate and serious danger to yourself or others we have a duty of care to report these concerns to the appropriate authority, this may include contacting emergency services and providing them with whatever information we have about you including your IP address.
The purpose of this document is to describe the LGBT Helpline’s policy regarding the collection and usage of personal data on our web site: www.lgbt.ie
How We Treat Your Personal Information
The LGBT Helpline considers all information collected on this site to be your information. It will be collected from you via registration for our instant messaging service, but will not be shared with, bartered, or sold to any third party. We take reasonable measures to protect the information you share with us from unauthorized access or disclosure.
By registering for the instant messaging service on the website, your contact information will be securely stored. You may choose to not supply any personal information to us.
We treat all information as confidential and will not disclose information to any party, save where criminal activity is expressed or people are likely to be exposed to risk. In this instance we reserve the right to contact a third party including the police.
User’s of our instant messaging service may not share, copy or transmit any information posted on the LGBT Helpline (including their own information). All information posted and/or published on LGBT.ie shall remain within the LGBT Helpline website at all times.
Content posted to the website within the instant messaging service during live discussion will remain the property of the LGBT Helpline. Content of live chat sessions may be stored for a short period of time for the purpose of monitoring and training of volunteers and for the monitoring of the quality of the service or for follow up work if someone is deemed to be at risk. Such content will be stored securely and deleted once monitoring is complete and/or issue has been resolved.
How We Treat Your Browser Information
The LGBT Helpline analyses the log files of our Website to better understand the volume of traffic to particular areas of our site. This information helps us to better understand and serve your information needs. Although we do track the Internet address of the domains from which people visit us, our log files do not correlate individual visitors with the pages visited. Therefore, the individual user remains anonymous in our Website log files.
By using our web site, you consent to the collection and use of your personal information by the LGBT Helpline as described in this policy. If we decide to change our policy, we will post those changes on this page.