Answering TTY and Relay Calls on Your 24-hour Crisis Hotline

The Statewide 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline is accessible via relay services and TTY. Deaf Survivors and other survivors using relay services, dial 711 and provide the hotline number 1-800-500-1119 to the relay operator. TTY users may dial the 24-hour domestic violence hotline TTY line directly at 1-800-621-4202.

The following information is provided for domestic violence advocates.

In order to assist crisis hotline staff in preparing to receive calls via telecommunication devices, such as a TTY, or telecommunication services, such as relay services, FCADV provides instructional technical assistance for using a TTY and for placing a relay call. If you would like additional information on relay services visit

TTY Calls

Receiving a Hotline Call in the TTY

  1. Recognize a TTY call - Listen for TTY tones, silence on the line, or an announcer stating this is a hearing impaired caller use TTY.
  2. Place the handset on the TTY. Be certain that the telephone cord is on the left hand side of the TTY. If it is directly connected just turn on the TTY.
  3. Turn on the TTY with the on/off button. (Check the light on the TTY to be certain the power is on.)
  4. Begin typing & briefly identify yourself (Hi this is FCADV. Kim here. Are you safe QQ GA).
  5. Remember to use the proper abbreviations.
  6. GA lets the caller know when to begin to type. (Stacy here GA)
  7. It is essential to ask safety related questions immediately (Are you safe QQ OR Do you need medical attention QQ).
  8. As you finish the conversation let the caller know you are ready to sign off by typing GA to SK.
  9. Sign off by saying Bye SK SK
  10. Turn the TTY off and return the handset to the phone.

Calling a TTY User

  1. Dial the phone number on the regular phone. Make sure the phone is ringing. If directly connected learn how to dial on the TTY using the directions enclosed with your new TTY. If you do not have the manual, contact FCADV or search the web for instructions for your machine.
  2. Turn on the TTY with the on/off button. (Check the light on the TTY to be certain the power is on.)
  3. Place the handset in the acoustic coupler. Be certain that the telephone cord is on the left hand side of the TTY.
  4. Wait until the TTY user answers the TTY and begins to identify herself or himself. You will begin type when the TTY user types GA.
  5. Be aware that impersonation is very easy on such technology. Contact FCADV or ADWAS for safety planning strategies.
  6. As you finish the conversation let the caller know you are ready to sign off by typing GA to SK.
  7. Sign off by typing Bye SK SK
  8. Turn the TTY off and return the handset to the phone.

TTY Abbreviations

Abbreviation Definition
CA stands for communication assistant (relay operator)
GA Go Ahead, signals the other person to talk, type
GA to SK the person is ready to sign off and hang up
SK Stop keying, means you're going to sign off
XXX signals a typing error in place of using the backspace
PLS please
QQ used instead of a question mark (?)
TMR tomorrow
U you
HD hold
UR your
MSG message

Placing Relay Calls

There are many different devices that may be used to place a relay call to a 24-hour domestic violence hotline. Relay Operators facilitate phone/internet "calls" between people who are Deaf or have hearing or speech disabilities and other individuals. Hotline advocates should be prepared to both receive and place these calls.

Standard telephone users can easily initiate calls to TTY users (and other telecommunication devices). The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words to the TTY user and reads back the typed replies.

  1. Dial 7-1-1 for the Florida Relay Service.
  2. You will hear, "Florida Relay Operator (number), may I have the number you are calling please?"
  3. Give the Relay operator the area code and telephone number you wish to call and any further instructions.
  4. The Relay operator will process your call, relaying exactly what the TTY user is typing. The Relay operator will relay what you say back to the TTY user.

When you finish the conversation and are ready to hang up, don't forget to say "SK" which stands for "stop keying" (which alerts both the Relay Operator and the other party that you are ready to end the conversation) then hang up.

Tips for hearing callers

  • Be sure to talk directly to your caller.
  • Ask essential safety questions early in the call.
  • Avoid saying "tell him" or "tell her".
  • Say "GA" or "Go Ahead" at the end of your response.
  • Say "Signing Off" before you hang up.

Helpful links for providing accessible services to survivors who are Deaf or hard of hearing

Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services
Located in Seattle, Washington, ADWAS provides comprehensive services to Deaf and Deaf-Blind victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. ADWAS believes that violence is a learned behavior and envisions a world where violence is not tolerated. ADWAS also provides a 24-hour TTY domestic violence hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

Florida Telecommunication Relay, Inc.
Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI) is a statewide non profit 501(c)3 organization that administers the Specialized Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program for citizens of Florida who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf/Blind and Speech Impaired. FTRI is also responsible for the education and promotion of the Florida Relay Service. The Florida Relay Service is the communications link for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf/Blind, or Speech Impaired. Through the Florida Relay Service, people who use specialized telephone equipment can communicate with people who use standard telephone equipment. To call Florida Relay, dial 7-1-1, or use the appropriate toll free numbers.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Technology
Increasing access to and acquisition of assistive services and technology in order to improve the quality of life for all Floridians with disabilities. Assistive Technology allows individuals to overcome barriers to independence education and employment by providing them with the tools and technology that would allow them to experience the highest degree of inclusion possible. FAAST Provides an equipment loan program and hosts "AT Bay" providing an opportunity to buy, sell or trade used assistive technology. FAAST partners with banking institutions to provide loans to purchase Assistive Technology. Borrowers can receive from $500 to $20,000 for vehicle or home modifications, adaptive computer equipment, scooters, etc.

Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living
Centers for Independent Living (CILs) empower persons with disabilities to take charge of their lives and guide their own destinies. In addition, CIL staff, boards, and consumers work together to remove barriers and prejudices in society so that all individuals can live and work and enjoy all that their communities have to offer. Select this link to find the Center for Independent Living serving your community.

Related Topics: