About the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline

Need help?
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

How does it work?
When you call 800.656.HOPE (4673), you’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the zip code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.

How can the hotline help me?
Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:

  • Confidential, judgment-free support from a trained staff member
  • Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
  • Someone to help you talk through what happened
  • Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
  • Referrals for long term support in your area
  • Information about the laws in your area
  • Basic information about medical concerns

Is it confidential?
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a safe, confidential service. When you call the hotline, only the first six numbers of the phone number are used to route the call, and your complete phone number is never stored in our system. Most states do have laws that require local staff to contact authorities in certain situations, like if there is a child or vulnerable adult who is in danger.

While almost all callers are connected directly to a staff member or volunteer at a local sexual assault service provider, a handful of providers use an answering service after daytime business hours. This service helps manage the flow of calls. If all staff members are busy, you may choose to leave a phone number with the answering service. In this case, the number will be confidential and will be given directly to the organization’s staff member for a callback. If you reach an answering service, you can try calling back after some time has passed, or you can choose to call during regular business hours when more staff members are available. You can also access 24/7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org.

Who are the sexual assault service providers?
Sexual assault service providers are organizations or agencies dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault. The providers who answer calls placed to the hotline are known as RAINN affiliates. To be part of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, affiliates must agree to uphold RAINN’s confidentiality standards. That means:

  • Never releasing records or information about the call without the consent of the caller, except when obligated by law
  • Only making reports to the police or other agencies when the caller consents, unless obligated by law
  • Agreeing to RAINN’s non-discrimination policy

To learn more about how a provider can become an affiliate of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, visit the Sexual Assault Service Provider information page or email candicel@rainn.org. Volunteer opportunities for the National Sexual Assault Hotline are coordinated through these local providers. Search for volunteer opportunities near you.

How is the National Sexual Assault Hotline created?
The National Sexual Assault Hotline was the nation’s first decentralized hotline, connecting those in need with help in their local communities. It’s made up of a network of independent sexual assault service providers, vetted by RAINN, who answer calls to a single, nationwide hotline number. Since it was first created in 1994, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) has helped over 2 million people impacted by sexual violence.

Before the telephone hotline was created, there was no central place where survivors could get help. Local sexual assault services providers were well equipped to handle support services, but the lack of a national hotline meant the issue did not receive as much attention as it should. In response, RAINN developed a unique national hotline system to combine all the advantages of a national organization with all the abilities and expertise of local programs. One nationwide hotline number makes it easier for survivors to be connected with the help they deserve.

Anyone impacted by sexual assault, whether it happened to you or someone you care about, can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline. You can also visit online.rainn.org to receive support via confidential online chat.

National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE(4673) | Free. Confidential. 24/7.

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