TERMS OF SERVICE
Last Updated: February 13, 2018 at 4:40 pm EST
IF YOU ARE IN DANGER OR NEED EMERGENCY HELP, CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
SCOPE; ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS
At Crisis Text Line (“Crisis Text Line”, “we”, or “us”), our goal is to help people in crisis. We are here to help you move from a “hot” moment to a “cool” calm, and we try to help equip you with tools to move yourself from “hot” to “cool” if you face a crisis in the future.
MODIFICATION OF THE TERMS OF SERVICE
This statement may be modified from time to time. Why? Because we care about you and we want to be super thoughtful about the Terms and how Crisis Text Line works. Any changes will be effective immediately upon our posting them to our website at CrisisTextLine.org. (So, yeah, if you are reading these words, that means we posted them on our website.) Your use of the Service after any such modifications have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Terms of Service.
Each time that you first send a text message to Crisis Text Line, you’ll receive a couple automated reply text message(s) with a link to our current Terms of Service so you may review them before continuing to use Crisis Text Line. Using Crisis Text Line after receiving those text message(s) shall constitute your acceptance of the Terms of Service.
NATURE AND USE OF INFORMATION PROVIDED THROUGH THE SERVICE
Please remember that your participation in Crisis Text Line does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, a doctor-patient relationship, a therapist-client relationship, a therapist-patient relationship or any other sort of confidential relationship. We’re not your doctor, your therapist, your lawyer, your mom, or even your best friend. Crisis Text Line is not a substitute for professional health care. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or 911. And, if you are experiencing a clinical or long-term issue, you should consult a medical professional.
Neither Crisis Text Line nor any of our employees, Crisis Counselors, or agents are responsible for any decisions, or results of the decisions that you make while, as a result of, or after using the Service. This includes whether you choose to seek or not seek professional care, or to modify or terminate specific treatment that you are currently receiving based on the information provided by this service. You are the boss of your own happiness. We can ask questions and nudge you in a healthy direction, but only YOU control your own actions, reactions, and words. (You can tweet that last bit. It is strong.)
You may take a survey on CrisisTextLine.org. This is not our service. Text 741741 to opt in to our service.
At the end of your conversation, you may receive a link to take a survey. This is to help us learn from you and improve our service! Some policies surrounding the survey:
1. You can skip questions.
2. Responses are anonymous.
3. If you leave a note for your Crisis Counselor, we’ll share it with them! Your note might also be used for marketing and training to show the amazing impact of Crisis Text Line. FYI: no names, phone number, or personal information will ever be shared! (So, your Crisis Counselor, etc will only see general feels/feedback.)
RISKS, USE OF SERVICE
You assume all risk for use of the service. Neither Crisis Text Line nor any of our employees, Crisis Counselors, agents, service providers, or any other entities with whom Crisis Text Line has contracted shall have any liability for (1) actions taken by you or a third party, or not taken by you or a third party, or (2) the unavailability of the service, and you agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless for damages arising out of (A) your use of the Service, (B) your breach of these Terms, (C) your violation of the law, (D) claims asserted by third parties that you are in breach of these Terms or (E) information provided by you through Crisis Text Line. Without limiting the foregoing, in no event shall Crisis Text Line be liable for any special, incidental, consequential, exemplary or indirect damages.
The service is provided on an “as is” basis and “as available” basis. (But we try to be awesome and we are constantly improving.) Crisis Text Line and its service providers expressly disclaim all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Crisis Text Line and its service providers make no warranty that Crisis Text Line will (A) meet your requirements; (B) be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; or (C) meet your expectations. The foregoing disclaimers of liability apply to all damages or injury, including those caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or delay in operation or transmission, whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, including negligence, or any other cause of action.
IMMINENT RISK OF SUICIDE OR HOMICIDE
We care about your safety. You being alive is what matters most to us. In rare cases, this means we might contact emergency services to request a wellness check. We understand that this can be disruptive, and it won’t happen unless we think it’s necessary. (Read: just saying “I’m feeling suicidal” does not necessarily mean we’ll try to send someone.) We’ll try to work with you to come up with a safety plan before calling emergency services, whenever possible.
PROHIBITED USES; RIGHT TO TERMINATE ACCESS
You may use Crisis Text Line only for lawful purposes and in accordance with these Terms. You agree to use the Service only for lawful and legitimate purposes. You agree not to use the Service:
- in any way that violates any applicable federal, state, local and international law or regulation;
- for the purpose of exploiting, harming or attempting to exploit or harm minors in any way by exposing them to inappropriate content, asking for personal information or otherwise;
- to threaten, harass, or otherwise inappropriately abuse Crisis Text Line, its employees, partners, agents, subcontractors, Crisis Counselors, or others;
- to send, knowingly receive, upload, download, use or re-use any content which does not comply with these Terms;
- to “spam,” gather or attempt to gather personal information belonging to users or others for the purposes of spamming, marketing, selling to third parties, or otherwise abusing Crisis Text Line or its users;
- to impersonate or attempt to impersonate another person or entity; or
- to engage in any other conduct that restricts or inhibits anyone’s use or enjoyment of the Services, or which, as determined by us, may harm Crisis Text Line or users of the Services or expose them to liability; or
- to copy, adapt, decompile, reverse engineer, attempt to discover the source code of or make a derivative works of the Service or any portion of the Service; or
- to otherwise attempt to interfere with the proper working of Crisis Text Line.
Crisis Text Line reserves the right to terminate your access to the Service if you violate these Terms, including by engaging in the prohibited uses described above. (Simply put, please don’t be a jerk. We are doing our very best to help Crisis Text Line users move from hot to cool. If you are mean to our people or you abuse our service, we are going to stop you from using it.)
Crisis Text Line may also unilaterally terminate your access to the Service. For example, we might determine that you’d be better served by a different kind of support or that you require service beyond those that we can reasonably provide to you.
Crisis Text Line further reserves the right to terminate the Service or your access to it, for any other reason, at our sole discretion. (But we’ll try to be cool about it.)
THIRD PARTY SERVICES
You may contact us through approved third party websites, applications or services (“Third Party Services”). For example, Facebook Messenger and Kik. However, these Terms only apply to you and Crisis Text Line. We are not responsible for, and make no representations regarding the policies of business practices of any Third Party Services. If you contact us through a Third Party Service, you are subject to these Terms as well as the terms and policies of the Third Party Service. We encourage you to review the terms and policies of any Third Party Service you use to contact Crisis Text Line. If you do not wish to be subject to a Third Party Service’s terms or policies, please do not contact Crisis Text Line through a Third Party Service; instead you should contact us by texting 741741.
GOVERNING LAW; INTERNATIONAL USERS
These Terms of Service and the provision of the Service is governed solely by, and shall be interpreted according to, the laws of the State of New York without giving effect to principles of conflict of law. Crisis Text Line and you both consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the city of New York, borough of Manhattan. (Basically, we <3 New York.)
The Service is operated in the United States. If you are located outside the United States, please be aware that any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. By using the Service and/or providing us with your information, you consent to that collection and transfer.
SEVERABILITY; ENTIRE AGREEMENT
If a court finds any provision of these Terms of Service to be invalid or unenforceable, that provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent possible and the remaining terms shall remain in full force and effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and Crisis Text Line, superseding any other written or oral agreements or understandings. (Basically, this is a fancy way of saying the stuff you’re reading now is what you and Crisis Text Line agree about, and even if we later fight about some of words, the rest of the words still stick around.)
PRIVACY AND SECURITY
We take your privacy and security very seriously, so we employ reasonable security controls (including encryption) to help protect your information. Despite these protections, SMS remains an imperfectly secure environment and there are some reallllly persistent hackers out there. We are trying super hard, but Crisis Text Line cannot guarantee protection from intruders, hackers or interceptors (fancy words for hackers and other bad people). You agree to use the Service and submit information to Crisis Text Line at your own risk, and you agree that Crisis Text Line has no liability regarding anyone’s unauthorized access to Crisis Text Line or the data associated with it.
Additionally, we care about the privacy and safety of our staff and Crisis Counselors. In using the Service, you agree to not communicate with our Crisis Counselors outside of the Service. If you have questions, comments or feedback for us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: November 11, 2017 at 5:24 pm EST
At Crisis Text Line (“Crisis Text Line”, “we” or “us”), our goal is to help people in crisis. We’re here to try to help you out of crisis–that means, to go from a “hot” moment to a “cool headed calm,” and we try to help equip you with tools to move yourself from “hot” to “cool” if you face a crisis in the future.
Importantly, we also want you to feel safe when you text with us. We want you to share all those awful things that are making you feel awful, so we can help you feel better!
Your privacy and security are very important to us. To make sure we’re doing everything we can to secure your information, we communicate our privacy and security guidelines to Crisis Text Line employees and Crisis Counselors. We stringently enforce these privacy safeguards.
COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
“Personally Identifiable Information” is data that can be used to uniquely identify you, such as your full name or home address. During your use of Crisis Text Line you may be prompted (but never required) to voluntarily provide Personally Identifiable Information, including but not limited to, your name or home address. We will ONLY ask for this if we believe it would help us to better serve you.
Crisis Text Line uses the information it collects about you to, among other things, improve the Service, contact you, provide anonymous reporting internally, and fulfill your requests, including but not limited to referrals to other services. In other words, we collect information so we can provide you and others like you with a better Service, helping move more people in crisis from “hot” to “cool.”
The following section provides examples of the types of Personally Identifiable Information Crisis Text Line may collect and how we may use it.
WHAT PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION WE COLLECT
We do not collect any Personally Identifiable Information from you other than the phone number you text us from and that which you provide to us. Some of the types of Personally Identifiable Information that we may request include:
- When you use the Service, we may request information including, but not limited to, your name, age, and zip code.
- When you contact us about a friend, family member, or other person in need of the Service, we may request the information you provide about those people such as name and zip code.
- In situations where you or someone else is in danger or in need of emergency help, we may request your current location, or the current location of the person in danger.
HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
We use Personally Identifiable Information to help us develop, deliver, and improve our products, content, advertising and the Service.
- We may also use Personally Identifiable Information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Crisis Text Line’s products, services, and communications.
- We may also use your information to help us personalize your experience with us and to operate, maintain and improve the features and functionality of our service.
COLLECTION AND USE OF NON-PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
We also collect non-Personally Identifiable Information, which is data that cannot be directly used to identify or contact you. We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-Personally Identifiable Information for any purpose, including but not limited to improving volunteer services, disclosing to third parties to generate support for Crisis Text Line, or as required by law.
Below are examples of non-Personally Identifiable Information that we collect and how we may use it:
- We may collect information such as age, gender, language, zip code, area code, and the time zone where a phone is being used to contact the Service to better understand behavior and improve the Service.
- We also may collect information regarding usage of Crisis Text Line such as the conversation volume, average length of conversation, and other data. This information is aggregated and helps us conduct internal research so we can improve the quality of our service.
DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES
At times we may make certain Personally Identifiable Information available to strategic partners that work with us.
LAW ENFORCEMENT, STATE AUTHORITIES AND EMS
It’s our goal to support you in staying safe and healthy and to do so in the least invasive way possible (read: we don’t want to intrude in your life!). If a Crisis Counselor identifies imminent risk of harm to yourself or someone else (you have the desire, plan, means, timeframe) or suspects emotional/physical abuse or neglect, they may let you know they’re concerned about your safety. At this point, they might ask you for some personally identifiable information (such as where you are or what your name is). If they feel like you might not be able to keep yourself safe, or you share information that triggers a mandatory report, they may contact local law enforcement, state authorities, or EMS. We’re not here to tell on you, or rat you out - we are here to do our best to support you and others in staying healthy and safe. We may attempt to locate you, but it may not always be possible.
Our Crisis Counselors are mandated reporters in cases of emotional/physical abuse or neglect of texters ages 17 and younger. If they suspect you are a victim of any of these, they may ask for your date of birth, name, and address to file a report with the appropriate state agency. You are not required to share this information with us.
We operate the Service in conjunction with volunteer and staff crisis counselors (“Crisis Counselors”). Any information, including Personally Identifiable Information, that you share with the Service may be viewed by Crisis Text Line staff or Crisis Counselors for quality control, to contact emergency services or to better assist you with your crisis.
If you provide feedback through an anonymous feedback survey, that feedback may also be shared with Crisis Text Line Staff and Crisis Counselors. We want to provide an awesome service, so we are hungry to learn from your feedback!
Sometimes, we may refer you to another hotline or program. There are some really great programs out there! We will give you their contact info but we will NOT give them your contact info. So, its up to you if you want to use the referral. If you would like to receive support from other services, please note that different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information. We do not control the privacy policies of others. We encourage you to ask questions before you disclose your Personally Identifiable Information to others.
THIRD PARTY SERVICES
If you contact us through a Third Party Service (A) both Crisis Text Line and the third party that runs the Third Party Service may have access to the content of the messages you share and (B) your information may be shared between us and that third party. For example, we and the third part may exchange your location information to contact local law enforcement or emergency services in an emergency.
OTHER THIRD PARTIES; LEGAL PROCESSES
Note that Crisis Text Line’s staff and Crisis Counselors are located across the United States, and may not be licensed in your state or trained in your state’s law. Other state laws may apply to your communications, and those state laws may not protect your communications to the same degree, or in the same way, as the laws of your state.
We have created a formal process for sharing information about conversations with researchers at universities and other institutions. We typically share data with trusted researchers when it will result in insights that create a better experience for our texters. We follow a set of best practices for data sharing based on the University of Michigan’s Interuniversity Consortium of Social and Political Research, one of the largest open data projects in the U.S., which includes stringent ethical, legal, and security checks. For more details, see our policies for open data collaborations.
RETENTION OF INFORMATION
Crisis Text Line retains data for reasons including but not limited to improving the quality of our crisis counseling, complying with federal research grant and other reporting requirements, and creating open data collaboration tools, such as www.crisistrends.org.
Retention policies and security measures match the sensitivity of the data. We categorize data into three types, based on chance of containing Personally Identifiable Information:
- The first two, conversation level and actor level, do not contain Personally Identifiable Information. These will be retained indefinitely.
- The third, message level, may contain Personally Identifiable Information, including message content and phone number.This will be retained for 7 years, then scrubbed.
- Non-Identifiers: data could not identify an individual, directly or indirectly
- You may request more information by contacting us at support@CrisisTextLine.org.
HOW WE PROTECT YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
Crisis Text Line cares about you and the security of your Personally Identifiable Information. We take reasonable precautions, including administrative, technical, and physical measures, to protect your Personally Identifiable Information from loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. We store all information on servers and we only permit approved Crisis Text Line employees and third parties to access those servers pursuant to the practices described above.
We employ different security techniques to protect your Personally Identifiable Information from unauthorized access, including standard encryption practices. However, perfect security does not exist anywhere, including for text messaging/SMS data. 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 Crisis Text Line will never be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this policy, and make no representations or warranties regarding the sufficiency of our security measures to prevent unauthorized access or interception by third parties.
YOU SHOULD ALSO PROTECT YOURSELF
Always be careful and responsible regarding your Personally Identifiable Information. We are not responsible for, and cannot control, what others not affiliated with Crisis Text Line or Crisis Counselors do with information you provide to them.
One suggestion: you might want to delete Crisis Text Line conversations from your phone. You might even want to clear us from your history and make sure we are not saved in your contact list. We totally understand if you want to take these steps and others, to ensure that your relationship to Crisis Text Line remains your business.
ACCESS/CHANGES TO PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
You may request that we delete your Personally Identifiable Information, such as last name, physical address, zip code, phone number, and texts/message transcripts by texting in the keyword LOOFAH to 741741, after which you will be prompted to confirm your request.
GOVERNING LAW; INTERNATIONAL USERS
The Service is operated in the United States. If you are located outside of the United States, please be aware that any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. By using Crisis Text Line and/or providing us with your information, you consent to that collection and transfer.
SEVERABILITY; ENTIRE AGREEMENT
The Crisis Text Line service in Canada is provided by Kids Help Phone and is governed by their terms of service, available here.