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Sexual assault help

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Some victims of sexual assault can now turn to a new, and maybe more comfortable, way for help.

About 10 people per month are sexually assaulted in Amarillo. The majority are victims under 17, and many cases go unreported.

"It goes way underreported because people see it as a private matter. They're afraid of what the response is going to be from their family or their friends. Some are afraid of the police response. Some just see it as a private matter, and they don't want to report that it's happening," says Becky O'Neal, Northwest Texas Hospital SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner), Program Coordinator.

The majority of the victims are sexually assaulted by their own family or friends. The US Department of Defense put out a new mobile app called Safe Helpline where victims can learn about breathing and stretching techniques that can reduce anxiety, depression and PTSD.

"Some people may feel comfortable only chatting online about this particular type of assault or trauma. Some people may decide that that's a good start. That they need to go and have one-on-one care with a professional," says Angie Stovall, Crisis Services Coordinator, Family Support Services.

Now, this is for military members and their family, but the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is working on designing one for everyone.

Stovall says, "All victims need validation. They need support. They need to know where professionals are. If they need additional help. You know, self-care is important, but that only takes you so far. And a lot of times you have additional problems that a professional needs to help with. So I think an app, anything, that gets information to someone's fingertips, quickly is absolutely critical, crucial."

With a mobile help app, more sexual assault cases could be reported.

O'Neal says, "We have WT. We have AC. We have those colleges where I think sexual assaults are occurring. And those kids may be afraid to report. So if there was an app that led them into the direction to report. And gave them information about how to report, why to report, how soon to report. Any kind of information would be helpful. "

For assistance, you may also contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.