AUSTIN, Texas -- SAFE, a merger of Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace, has created an online chat service to allow abuse victims a new way to reach out for help.

SAFE is aimed at helping victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking or anyone in need of parenting support.

The free online chat service will offer a way for victims to communicate when a phone call may not be safe or they just aren't comfortable talking on the phone.

Online chat advocates are currently available from 12:30 p.m. until 12 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The advocates are fluent in both English and Spanish.

SAFE hopes to eventually offer the safe 24/7. Currently, they have a hotline available at all hours. They can be reached around the clock at 512-267-SAFE (7233).

To learn more about the online chat service, click here.