RAINN’s Hotlines Helped Nearly 400 People Per Day in 2014

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National news headlines and renewed focus in Washington placed sexual assault issues front and center in 2014. But behind the media stories and the political spotlight are the thousands of survivors who turned to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, which continues to provide a crucial service for survivors of sexual violence.

“We saw an increase when the Bill Cosby allegations started to gain traction in the fall,” said Candice Lopez, the hotline’s director.

Hotline usage also spiked when RAINN public service ads aired during TV shows including PBS’s Downton Abbey, ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss and the CW’s Reign. “The national television networks regularly work with RAINN’s communications team, donating promotional time to make sure their viewers know where to turn if they are struggling with sexual violence,” says Katherine Hull Fliflet, RAINN’s vice president for communications.

The Online Hotline helped 44,450 sexual assault survivors during 2014. RAINN’s phone hotline, run in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers, helped an additional 90,136 survivors.

RAINN also operates the DoD Safe Helpline, serving members of the U.S. military, on behalf of the Department of Defense; and the 1in6 SupportLine, serving men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood, on behalf of 1in6. Overall, RAINN’s services helped nearly 400 people per day last year.

The Online Hotline provides live, secure and anonymous crisis support for survivors of sexual violence, as well as their friends and families. The custom-designed online chat platform gives survivors, who may not feel comfortable talking on the phone, another way to receive help, whenever they need it. “The instant-messaging format has proved to be more popular among teenagers and younger survivors, as well as male survivors,” said Lopez.

Unfortunately, with such a huge demand for help in 2014, visitors to the Online Hotline experienced a longer than average wait time, up 30% from the previous year. “Every time we add hotline workers, the number of sessions keeps going up. This just shows how much of a demand there is for our service,” said Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim services at RAINN. Marsh noted that the organization is continually hiring for hotline positions to keep up with the growing demand.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org.

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