RAINN Helping Victims of Sexual Assault Online
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization provides support to victims online. Since 1994 RAINN has provided help to over 1.2 million people through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE). Help is now also available through the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at www.rainn.org.
The secure web-based hotline provides a safe, secure an anonymous place for victims to get help online. Using an instant-messaging style format, the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline allows sexual assault victims to communicate directly with trained crisis support volunteers.
“The Online Hotline provides a solution to the dangerous trend of victims getting help online through insecure websites. Many young sexual assault victims are turning to the Internet for help through insecure chat rooms, blogs, and social networking sites. This dangerous trend of victims turning to the Internet for help leaves victims vulnerable to unreliable advice, exposes their identity, and makes their postings available to the world through Google.”
RAINN worked with its technology partners to build the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline’s innovative communications infrastructure from the ground up, integrating security and anonymity at every level. The Online Hotline does not capture users’ IP addresses, nor does it record transcripts of sessions. McAfee, Inc., the global leader in online security, partnered with RAINN to ensure the security of the Online Hotline.
“The Online Hotline offers a lifeline to victims trapped in a situation where the Internet may be their only safe and secure link to the outside world and to getting help.”
What services does the Online Hotline provide?
- Crisis intervention and support
- Answers to your questions about recovering from sexual assault
- Information about medical issues
- Explanations of the criminal justice system, and what to expect when you report the crime to the police
- Referrals to resources in your area
- Information for family and friends of victims
How does it work?
It works just like instant messaging. You’ll go into a private session with a trained volunteer and communicate, live, by typing messages back and forth. The service is completely anonymous, and you do not have to give your name or any personal information.