“Hi, I’m Cass! I’m a chatbot and am here to help you. Everything we talk about is completely private – are you ready to start chatting?”

Hello Cass is an SMS chatbot providing discreet access to localised, accurate information and support for people experiencing or affected by family and sexual violence.

1 in 4 Australian women experience some form of family or sexual violence in their lifetime, yet less than 15% of incidents of violence are reported. Hello Cass seeks to make it easier for those experiencing or affected by family and sexual violence to ask questions about domestic violence, sexual assault, financial, emotional or psychological abuse – and it feels just like texting a friend.

 

How it works

Start chatting with Cass by simply texting ‘hello’ to either the Hello Cass mobile number, WhatsApp or Telegram.

Then, Cass, a friendly chatbot, will respond instantly, checking to make sure you’re safe and comfortable (remember, Hello Cass isn’t an emergency service!).

Once you’re comfortable, Cass will help guide you through information about family and sexual violence, including counselling services available, the legal system, safety planning and how to help build stronger relationships.

Start chatting with Cass by simply texting ‘hello’ to either the Hello Cass mobile number, WhatsApp or Telegram.

No.2

Then, Cass, a friendly chatbot, will respond instantly, checking to make sure you’re safe and comfortable (remember, Hello Cass isn’t an emergency service!).

Once you’re comfortable, Cass will help guide you through information about family and sexual violence, including counselling services available, the legal system, safety planning and how to help build stronger relationships.

Community built

We’ve developed Hello Cass in consultation with a range of community health and prevention of violence against women organisations to ensure the content is accurate, safe, culturally-appropriate, and reflects the diversity of Australian women and their experiences.

These organisations include:

DVRCV
No To Violence
Berry Street
WIRE logo
CASA Forum

How it helps

More than 85% of incidents of violence against women do not get reported – Hello Cass seeks to help change that.

Fear, shame, embarrassment, self-doubt, sympathy for the abuser, feeling like something wasn’t ‘bad enough’ or that they wouldn’t be believed are some reasons women give for not talking about or reporting violence.

These reasons are often known as ‘barriers,’ and they become even more complicated when you consider how our different backgrounds and cultures affect how we think and speak about family, sex and gender roles. Hello Cass has been developed in consultation with the peak bodies from the prevention of violence against women sector, as well as community health organisations and leaders to ensure the information and support provided is culturally-safe and inclusive.

The technology powering Hello Cass is a combination of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) features, and reliable, accessible SMS infrastructure. By building it in this way, information and support for domestic violence, sexual assault, emotional, psychological and financial abuse can be easily accessed by women and communities in regional and remote places – who are so often left behind.

 

FAQ

Can I use Hello Cass if I’m in immediate danger?

No, please call 000. Hello Cass is unable to provide assistance if you are in immediate danger, so dialing 000 is always the best service to contact if your safety is at risk.

Does Hello Cass want to replace counsellors?

No, rather Hello Cass seeks to serve as an early access point for those experiencing or affected by family and sexual violence, and has an extensive database of counselling services it recommends.

Who can use Hello Cass?

Hello Cass is available for anyone to use – and all messages are completely anonymous. We have developed Hello Cass with a focus on women survivors, however we are continuing to work with a broad audience in mind to provide relevant information to the LGBTIQ community, male victims of sexual or family violence, and men who have used violence and are looking to change their behaviour.

Does Hello Cass know who I am?

No, Hello Cass doesn’t collect any personal information at all. You can enter your postcode if you wish to find services near you, but it collects nothing identifiable about you specifically.

What happens to the information/data it gathers?

The anonymous data and information Hello Cass generates is collated into a report every month and delivered to participating organisations across the community health and prevention of violence against women sector. In doing this, Hello Cass returns the valuable insights that it generates to the organisations that are best positioned to provide assistance to victims of violence, as well as developing prevention campaigns and strategies.

How can I chat with Hello Cass?

Hello Cass will be available via SMS, the messaging platform Telegram, WhatsApp, and here on the website.

Why didn’t it answer my question?

Hello Cass is still learning, and the team of specialist content writers and counsellors are still writing! Our focus is to develop a simple service that continually improves over time, but if you have a specific question, you can always give 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732, or email the Hello Cass team at say@hellocass.com.au.

Does Hello Cass work in different languages?

Hello Cass will be launching three additional languages by the end of 2018, and will continue to evolve language capabilities.

Where is it being used?

Hello Cass is launching in Victoria, Australia in 2018, with a national roll-out plan following the successful launch. If you are interested in launching Hello Cass near you, get in touch with the team at say@hellocass.com.au.

When can I use it?

Hello Cass will be piloting from May 2018, launching in July 2018. If you are interested in being involved in the pilot program, please contact the team at say@hellocass.com.au.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Get in touch with the Hello Cass team at say@hellocass.com.au.

Supporters

The Myer Foundation

The Myer Foundation

Myer Innovation Fund

Angel investors

LAK + FMK

Private Donors

Good Hood

Good Hood

A Good Hood project

Studio Akin

Studio Akin

Branding and identity

Adam Ferns

Adam Ferns

Digital design

Built By Them

Built By Them

Digital support

Media

Hello Cass screen shot

Hello Cass on the ABC

Hello Cass Founder, Emma Koster, chats with Simon Brown from the ABC about combining SMS and AI technology to deliver a service that also works for women in regional and remote communities.

Read more

RRR logo

Emma Koster on 3RRR radio

Talking chatbots, privacy and violence against women with Vanessa and the crew at Byte into IT on 3RRR.

Listen now

About us

Hello Cass founder, Emma Koster Hello Cass founder, Emma Koster

Founder – Emma Koster

“In 2013, I established Good Hood, with the purpose of developing creative digital solutions for social challenges. Hello Cass is the first piece of software from Good Hood, and as a proud feminist and committed advocate for gender equality, it is a project close to my heart.

I believe in working towards a future where technology is used for good; and where ‘good’ means for the good of all. Throughout my career, I have learned to approach each project by first asking ‘what is the problem, and what do we hope to change?’  Violence against women is a problem that affects 1 in 3 women in the world; it’s a problem that kills one woman every week in Australia. Hello Cass is my response to this urgent need for change. It is not perfect, and it will never be enough to ‘solve’ this problem—but it is my hope that Hello Cass can be a helpful, trustworthy, reassuring place to start.”

Say hello

We’re launching soon!

Hello Cass will be launching across Victoria, Australia soon! In the meantime, get in touch with the team at say@hellocass.com.au.

You can also sign-up for the occasional but exciting Hello Cass dispatch:

If you’re in need of support right now, please visit 1800respect.org.au or call 1800 737 732.