Virtual Drop-In Support

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Distancing doesn’t mean you have to process your experience on your own. Our Crisis Intervention Volunteers are here to support you virtually through Zoom from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding statutory holidays) beginning on January 18, 2021.

Please know you are welcome to change your screen name to “Anon” if you’d like to remain anonymous. 

If you’re not sure if accessing virtual support is right for you, please see our FAQs.

Virtual Support FAQ

Is accessing Crisis Intervention Support through Zoom confidential and safe?

You can be assured that as long as you are using the Google Meet app with your U of A account to join a Zoom Meeting (e.g. using the web URL) with video/audio, encryption is guaranteed. The form of encryption that Zoom uses is called “End to End Encryption." A good analogy is thinking about your data being placed into an armoured vehicle as it moves from you, to the person with whom you are speaking. Your data cannot be intercepted in this way.

This means that data is encrypted from Point A to Point B, without being decrypted by Zoom servers.

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This is different from some other Encryption methods, such as "Transit encryption," which is used by Google Meet, for example -- meaning that Google would have the ability to access your data.

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That being said, there is a lack of guaranteed transit encryption if you elect to use the long distance number to join a Zoom Meeting via phone (the number that is generated along with the video conference web address in meeting invites). As such, we will not be able to continue a session if someone uses the phone line in order to respect the confidentiality of our clients, as this information could be intercepted. 

The Crisis Intervention Volunteer or Staff member that you meet with through Zoom will carry out your session in a space that maintains your confidentiality. This includes conducting the session in a room/space where no one else will be able to hear, nor see, the content of your discussion. 

Any information collected from you for the purposes of booking longer term care with the Centre will be collected confidentially, either through email or G Suite, which are both Transit Encrypted.

What are the risks of accessing Crisis Intervention Support through Zoom?
While there are multiple safeguards put in place for the protection of your personal information, there is still no guarantee that this information will remain secure, as rare breeches of privacy can occur.
What are the main limitations of accessing Crisis Intervention Support through Zoom?

Zoom allows us to connect face-to-face to provide Crisis Intervention Support. While this allows for a more personal  connection, there is always the possibility of interrupting each other, lag, or other technical difficulties that can make it difficult to communicate with the other individual at times. It also does not allow for anonymity, as Centre representatives will have access to your full name (although only your first name will be documented for file keeping purposes, as is standard procedure at our service). Further, since we are unable to meet in a secure Centre Counselling Room, there is always a chance that someone you live with, or are near, will hear the content of your conversation on your end. Please note, Centre representatives will not be within sight or earshot of anyone else, and will ensure your confidentiality at all times from their end.

Overall, while we know that for many people, nothing can replace the experience of sharing space with another individual, we wanted to provide an option for support that is as close to this experience as possible.

Is accessing remote support through Zoom right for me?

Due to the nature of the application, you will need to log into Zoom with your U of A account. As such, your anonymity can not be guaranteed, and the individual who provides you with support will have access to your full name. While our Centre respects your privacy--and will not ever share this information unless we are required to do so by legislation or University policy -- it is up to you to decide whether or not you’d like to release this information to our service in the first place. 

You will also need to ensure that you have a confidential space to carry out your session in order to ensure your confidentiality. This is not always possible for everyone given the physical distancing and self-isolation parameters that are expected to remain in place for the near future.

You will also need a general understanding of how to use the Zoom software (which we have linked to here). Although generally easy to use, a lack of familiarity with the software may impede the quality of your support session. 

If connecting through Google Meet does not feel right for you, we provide support in a multitude of other ways:

  1. Call our Centre (780-492-9771) and leave a message with your contact information so we can connect about scheduling a phone support session;
  2. Email our Centre (uasac@ualberta.ca) for support over email;
  3. Access the Alberta One Line for Sexual Violence by texting or calling 1-866-403-8000 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., 7 days/week, or through chat on the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton’s website at sace.ca.