Terms of Service

Last Updated: July 1, 2016


Before using Online SOS (“we”, “us”), please read the following. By accessing or using Online SOS you agree to the Terms of Service (“Terms”) and Privacy Policy (“Privacy Policy”) described below. These Terms govern your access and use of Online SOS. You may contact Online SOS by e-mail at [email protected] at any time with questions about these Terms. If you don’t agree to the Terms, you may not use Online SOS. We can refer to you other resources.

Here’s a TL;DR – while the summary is for your benefit, it is not meant to replace you reading this document. Unfortunately, this legal language exists for your benefit and ours, and allows our organization and its supporters to do our work.

Online SOS does not provide medical or health care advice, care, diagnosis or treatment.

Liability – Online SOS and any affiliates are not responsible for any decisions you make or the results of those decisions. You assume all risk for using this service.

Third Parties – Online SOS can’t be liable for the content or care from third party providers that Online SOS may refer you to.

No Guarantees – Online SOS will take a best efforts approach to provide assistance, but can not guarantee any outcomes.

Audience – Online SOS is intended for access and use only by U.S. individuals who are at least 18 years of age for lawful and legitimate purposes.

Privacy – Your privacy and security are very important to us. You will never be required to give us any Personally Identifiable Information. We will take extra safeguards and precautions in handling PII (including using identification numbers). However, we may be required to provide information under law and, only with your consent, may provide information to select third parties, if you choose to receive referrals.

Nature of Service
We’re here to try to provide assistance when in crisis or recovery from online harassment – specifically by providing you with crisis coaching, a referral to a professional based on your needs, and a potential donation to help pay for your services.

But remember, your participation in Online SOS 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. Online SOS is not a substitute for professional health care. Our staff members will have limited availability. Online SOS is not a crisis hotline.

Online SOS provides crisis coaching and a referral service to other third-party professionals based on the discussed needs of the individual. Online SOS does not replace your relationship with any practitioner or service, and Online SOS does not provide medical or health advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. Crisis coaching may be led by a mental health professional, but is not a form of therapeutic service.

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.

Online SOS and any of our volunteers, employees, agents, referred third party service providers, or our fiscal sponsor are not responsible for any decisions, or results of the decisions that you make while, as a result of, or after participating in Online SOS’s programs. 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. We will be asking questions and listening to your needs to develop objectives and goals together, and we will attempt to serve as an advocate for you under a best efforts approach, but you will ultimately be responsible for your recovery, and your actions, reactions, and words.

Risks in Use of Service
You assume all risk for use of this service. Online SOS and any of our volunteers, employees, agents, or our fiscal sponsor shall have no 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 this service, and you agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless for damages arising out of (1) your use of Online SOS, (2) your breach of these Terms, (3) your violation of the law, (4) claims asserted by third parties, which, if proven, would place you in breach of these Terms or (5) information provided by you through Online SOS. Without limiting the foregoing, in no event shall Online SOS be liable for any special, incidental, consequential, exemplary or indirect damages.

Online SOS may make referrals to other third party service providers based on your request, but these service providers are not employees or independent contractors of Online SOS. Any opinions, advice, or information expressed by a facility, professional or specialist while using Online SOS belong to that practice and professional alone. They do not reflect the opinions of Online SOS. Online SOS does not endorse any specific providers, products, procedures, tests, medications, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on Online SOS or communicated during the time of service.

This service is provided on an “as is” basis and “as available” basis. Online SOS 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, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, makes no warranty that Online SOS 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.

Online SOS will take a best efforts approach to serving all the participants who sign up for the service. However, a large influx of participants may require Online SOS to employ a process of prioritization based on the severity of the case and the ability for Online SOS to help. Online SOS will attempt to, but may not be able to respond to participants within the timeframe and process described on our website. The timeframe is one we will attempt to meet, but is in no way a guarantee of communication.

Lastly, while Online SOS offers donations to help pay for services through our Contingency Fund, we note the selection process is at the full discretion of Online SOS. Qualifying for financial donations through the Contingency Fund requires the participant to fully cooperated with the intake process, which includes but is not excluded to signing the Informed Consent, completing a one-hour phone call with Online SOS, and demonstrating his or her need for expert help as a response to an incident of online harassment and for his or her need for financial resources. We note that the selection process is primarily based on financial need, but may include other factors. There will also be a pre-determined financial limit or cap on the numerical dollar amount of donations to be allocated per individual who qualifies. If an individual does not attend or is a no-show to his or her appointment – with Online SOS or any referred service providers – the missed appointment may be deducted from the total amount of services he or she is eligible for.

Online SOS is intended for use only by persons who are at least 18 years of age. If you are under 18 years of age, do not use or access Online SOS at any time or in any manner. By using Online SOS, you affirm that you are over the age of 18. Online SOS does not seek through this website to gather personal information from or about persons under the age of 18. Online SOS intends to extend the service to those who are below 18 years of age at a later date, but until then, currently is not able to. For an individual who is between the age of 13 and 18, a parent or legal guardian can accept these Terms of Service on his or her behalf, in which case Online SOS will solely interact with the individual in the presence of his or her guardian.

You may use Online SOS only for lawful purposes and in accordance with these Terms. You agree to use the Online SOS only for lawful and legitimate purposes. You agree not to use Online SOS:

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 Online SOS, or any of our volunteers, employees, agents, third party service providers, our fiscal sponsor, 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 Online SOS 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 users of the Services or expose them to liability; or
To otherwise attempt to interfere with the proper working of Online SOS.
Online SOS reserves the right to terminate your access to Online SOS if you violate these Terms, including by engaging in the prohibited uses described above.

Online SOS may also terminate your access to our 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. Online SOS further reserves the right to terminate Online SOS or your access to it, for any other reason, at our sole discretion.


These Terms and the provision of Online SOS is governed solely by, and shall be interpreted according to, the laws of the State of California without giving effect to principles of conflict of law. Both parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the city of San Francisco.


If a Court finds any provision of these Terms 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 Online SOS, superseding any other written or oral agreements or understandings.


Everyone who participates in the Online SOS pilot program will be asked to sign an informed consent. The purpose of the informed consent is to ensure the participants are aware of our intent with the program:

The type and extent of services that the individual will receive will be determined following an initial assessment and thorough discussion with the team member of Online SOS. The goal of the assessment process is to determine the best course of services.


To the extent that any of the content included on Online SOS through third-party content providers, including guest bloggers, Online SOS has no editorial control or responsibility over such content. Therefore, any opinions, statements, products, services or other information expressed or made available by professionals, third-party suppliers or users on Online SOS are those of such professional, third-party suppliers or users, respectively. Online SOS does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, statement or other information provided by any third party, or represent or warrant that your use of the content displayed on Online SOS or referenced content or service providers will not infringe rights of third parties not owned by or affiliated with Online SOS.


As you view Online SOS, you may see links to third-party websites, including a list of resources. These links are for convenience only. If you use these links, you will leave the Online SOS. Online SOS is not responsible for the availability or content, products, services or other materials of these other websites or for any viruses or other damaging elements encountered in linking to a third-party website. In addition, providing links to these websites should not be interpreted as endorsement or approval by Online SOS of the organizations sponsoring such third-party websites or their products or services. Online SOS shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damages or losses caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on such content, products, services or other materials available on or through any such website. Online SOS is not responsible for the privacy practices of any other websites. These Terms do not apply to any other websites.


Your interactions with entities or individuals found on or through Online SOS, including payment and delivery of goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between you and such entities or individuals. You should make whatever investigation you feel necessary or appropriate before proceeding with any online or offline transaction with any third party. You are solely responsible for, and will exercise caution, discretion, common sense and judgment in, using Online SOS and disclosing personal information.

You agree that Online SOS shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any sort incurred as the result of any such dealings. If there is a dispute between participants on Online SOS, or between users and any third party, you understand and agree that Online SOS is under no obligation to become involved. In the event that you have a dispute with one or more other users, you hereby release Online SOS, its officers, employees, agents, volunteers, fiscal sponsor and successors in interest from claims, demand and damages (actual or consequential) of every kind or nature, known or unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed or undisclosed, arising out of or in any way related to such disputes or Online SOS or the features and services therein. If you are a California resident, you waive California Civil Code Section 1542, which states: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his favor at the time of executing the release, which, if known by him must have materially affected his settlement with the debtor.”

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, we operate in an imperfectly secure environment and can not guarantee complete protection from intruders or interceptors. If you agree to use Online SOS and submit information at your own risk, you agree that Online SOS has no liability regarding anyone’s unauthorized access to Online SOS or the data associated with it.

Additionally, we care about the privacy and safety of our volunteers. In using this service, you agree to not communicate with our Online SOS volunteers or staff outside the service or means that Online SOS provides. If you have questions, comments or feedback for us, please email [email protected]


This statement may be modified from time to time. We want to be thoughtful about the Terms and how Online SOS works. Any changes will be effective immediately upon our posting them here at onlineSOSnetwork.org. Your use of Online SOS constitutes your acceptance of these Terms and Privacy Policy.

When you fill out our form as the first step in receiving services via Online SOS, a link to the Terms and Privacy Policy will be available on the first screen. Using Online SOS will constitute your acceptance of the Terms and Privacy Policy.

Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Introduction and Scope
At Online SOS (“we,” “us”), our goal is to help people in crisis or recovery from online harassment, specifically by providing you with crisis coaching, a referral to a professional based on your needs, and a potential donation to help pay for your services

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 our staff and volunteers. We stringently enforce these privacy safeguards.

This Privacy Policy governs your use of Online SOS, describes what information we collect on Online SOS, and explains how we use, transfer and store your information after we collect it. This policy will inform you if and to whom we disclose any of that information, and what choices you have in how we use that information. So before using Online SOS, please read the following.

Consent and Potential Changes
By using Online SOS, you agree to the practices outlined in this Privacy Policy. Online SOS may change this Privacy Policy from time to time, so please consult it regularly for any such changes. Any changes will be effective immediately upon our posting them to our website at onlineSOSnetwork.org. Your use of Online SOS after any such changes have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Privacy Policy and Terms.

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 Online SOS you may be prompted (but never required) to voluntarily provide Personally Identifiable Information, including but not limited to, your home address or email address. We will ONLY ask if we believe it would help us to better serve you.

While we may collect Personally Identifiable Information, we will not sell or license to any third party any Personally Identifiable Information we receive from you, and will not share it with any third parties except as noted below.

Online SOS uses the information it collects about you to, among other things, improve Online SOS, 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.

The following section provides examples of the types of Personally Identifiable Information Online SOS may collect and how we may use it.

We do not collect any Personally Identifiable Information other than what you voluntarily provide to us. Some of the types of Personally Identifiable Information that we may request include:

When you contact Online SOS, we may request information including your full name and state in the form used to request services.

When you contact Online SOS about a friend, family member, or other person in need of our services, we may request the information you provide about those people such as name, best way to get in touch, and state.
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.
We use Personally Identifiable Information to help us develop, deliver, and improve our services.

If you choose to receive follow-up email messages or text messages from us, the Personally Identifiable Information we collect may be used to notify you of relevant information, request for feedback, and any relevant opportunities. If you no longer wish to receive messages, you may opt out at any time.
We may also use Personally Identifiable Information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Online SOS’s services and communications. However, we will be taking extra security precautions to avoid using Personally Identifiable Information by using identification numbers for as many internal processes as possible.
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.
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 Online SOS, or as required by law.

Disclosure to Third Parties
At times we may make certain Personally Identifiable Information available to strategic partners that work with us.

It’s our goal to support you in staying safe and healthy and to do so in the least invasive way possible. If an Online SOS team member identifies imminent harm to yourself or someone else (you have the desire, plan, and means) or suspects abuse or neglect, they let you know they’re concerned about your safety. At this point, they might ask you where you are or what your name is. They’ll continue to work to support you, and if they feel like you might not be able to keep yourself safe, they may contact local police or EMS. There are specific and limited exceptions to confidentiality, which include the following:

(A) When there is risk of imminent danger to myself or to another person, the staff member is ethically bound to take necessary steps to prevent such danger.

(B) When there is suspicion that a child or elder is being sexually or physically abused or is at risk of such abuse, the staff member is legally required to take steps to protect the child or elder, and to inform the proper authorities.

(C) When a valid court order is issued for medical records, the staff members and the agency are bound by law to comply with such requests.

Any information, including Personally Identifiable Information, that you share with Online SOS may be viewed by Online SOS staff or agents for quality control and to better assist you with your crisis. However, we note that we have taken extra precautions to limit the amount of Personally Identifiable Information available in our own or affiliated systems, by using identification numbers to anonymize each individual. If you provide feedback through a feedback survey, that feedback may also be shared with Online SOS staff and agents.

Sometimes, we may refer you to another service, program, or hotline. We will give you their contact information, but we will NOT give them your contact information, without agreeing with you first about whether you want to take that action step. At any time, it is entirely up to you if you want to use the referral. If you request that Online SOS schedule an appointment on your behalf, we may be required to give Personally Identifiable Information or other general information and may use the contact information you have made available to us. 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.

In certain narrow circumstances, we may disclose Personally Identifiable Information we collect from you to additional third parties to the extent necessary to: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal process; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of Online SOS, its affiliates, employees, or agents; (C) to enforce this Privacy Policy or Terms; (D) in connection with a merger, acquisition, liquidation, or corporate divestiture of Online SOS or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate Online SOS or its infrastructure systems properly.

Note that Online SOS’s staff 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.