Callers to the National Sexual Assault Hotline will now hear a familiar voice greeting them: actress Christina Ricci. Ricci, a RAINN spokesperson, recorded the menu messages that guide callers to the free, confidential help that the hotline offers to victims of sexual violence.
Ricci’s recordings are just the most visible changes to the hotline (800.656.HOPE). Behind the scenes, RAINN, along with technology partner Verizon Business, has made major upgrades to ensure that all callers have quick access to help from a rape treatment center in their community. Nearly 1,100 rape treatment centers partner with RAINN to provide services to hotline callers.
The upgrades improve the hotline’s routing technology to improve services for people calling from mobile phones. The cell phone routing changes were the feature most requested by RAINN’s Program Advisory Board, a group of 13 nationally-recognized leaders of anti-sexual violence organizations.
“We are continuing to make it as simple as possible for victims to get help — online, on a cell phone, or on a landline,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN. “When we launched the hotline in 1994, there were just over 24 million cell phone users. Now there are more than 285 million.”
The hotline, which has helped more than 1.5 million victims of sexual violence, also features more than 1,300 new audio recordings. To meet the growing demand from Spanish-speaking victims, all hotline menus are also now available in both Spanish and English.