March 5, 2008 – (Washington, DC) – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, has been recognized by the International Youth Volunteer Project, of the Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), for the volunteer opportunities presented by the new National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. The Innovation in Youth Volunteering project identifies and rewards innovation in youth volunteering worldwide.
This year, RAINN was one of 22 volunteer programs recognized by the ICP for Innovation in Volunteering, selected from a group of over 130 projects across the world. The ICP report found that the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline “tap[s] into the pulse of today’s youth culture, [involving] the use of new [technology] and [encourages] society and youth to view technology in new ways…”
“We’re honored by the recognition the Online Hotline’s volunteer program has received from ICP...Volunteers play a vital role in RAINN’s mission to provide support to victims of sexual assault.
“We’re honored by the recognition the Online Hotline’s volunteer program has received from ICP,” said Penelope Hughes, RAINN’s vice president for online services. “Volunteers play a vital role in RAINN’s mission to provide support to victims of sexual assault, so we structured our volunteer program to offer flexibility for those joining RAINN in the fight against sexual violence.”
Every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted. The Online Hotline provides live, secure and anonymous help to the growing number of people who prefer communicating via the Internet — giving those affected by sexual violence a safe place to turn when they can’t find their voice. Trained volunteers from across the United States, provide help to visitors through an interface similar to an instant messaging format.
The Online Hotline was distinguished by ICP for volunteering “best practices” based upon three factors: the focus upon the targeted issue of sexual assault, the flexibility given to volunteers, and the program’s innovative use of technology. According to the ICP, “Recognizing that both young assault survivors and young volunteers would find such [an online] venue for counseling attractive, the [hotline] has successfully developed and implemented a secure and confidential space for assault survivors to seek assistance.”
Trained hotline volunteers can work shifts as short as one hour to provide flexibility in scheduling, and can work at home or anywhere they have access to a private computer, eliminating the need for travel. As noted by ICP, “Traveling, moving, spending a year aboard — none of these activities prevent a volunteer from continuing with his or her service.”
For more information about the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline and how you can become a volunteer, visit rainn.org. 
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and rainn.org) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.2 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.