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122,648 Reasons for Hope: Hotlines Meet Surging Demand

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The National Sexual Assault Hotline and Online Hotline, both operated by RAINN, last year helped 122,648 survivors of sexual assault, 15,000 more than in the prior year. This dramatic increase in hotline usage is actually good news: it means that a greater percentage of victims are learning about the hotlines and reaching out for help. RAINN saw large increases in hotline calls and sessions following national airings on the Oprah Show, ABC’s Private Practice, and dozens of national media outlets.

Both hotlines provide free, confidential support, 24/7. The Online Hotline (online.rainn.org), established in 2006, helped a record 23,290 people, up 16% from 2009. The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) helped 99,358 people, up 14%, with the help of RAINN’s 1,100 local sexual assault service provider partners.

The hotlines serve diverse audiences: Some hotline users call minutes after their attack, while some wait decades before asking for help. While the majority of hotline users are women, RAINN also serves tens of thousands of men and children. Some report being victimized by strangers; some by acquaintances; and others by a family member or caregiver. What all have in common is the need — and the desire — to recover from their attack. The advice and emotional support provided by the hotlines help them begin, or continue, their recovery. Hotline staff and volunteers also provide referrals for long-term care.

Following one Online Hotline session, a hotline user emailed: “I am grateful for RAINN’s Online Hotline, which helped me get out of my dark place and was there when I needed somebody to confide in. The Online Hotline was a lifeline for me — and anyone else who is on the cusp of getting help, like I was. Thank you for freeing me and allowing me to let my story out.”

Since 1994, the hotlines have helped more than 1.5 million people.


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