At any given moment, more than 1,100 trained volunteers are on duty and available to help victims at RAINN-affiliated crisis centers across the country.
How does the National Sexual Assault Hotline work?
The concept behind the hotline is simple. When a caller dials 1.800.656.HOPE, a computer notes the area code and first three digits of the caller's phone number. The call is then instantaneously connected to the nearest RAINN member center. If all counselors at that center are busy, the call is sent to the next closest center. The caller's phone number is not retained, so the call is anonymous and confidential unless the caller chooses to share personally-identifying information.
Are hotline calls completely confidential?
RAINN does not have any record of a caller's phone number or name. Callers always have the choice of whether or not to share their real name or phone number with counselors; they are never obligated to reveal this information. In other words, we will know who you are only if you choose to tell us.
If a caller is under age 18 and chooses to share personally-identifying information with the counselor, most states require the counselor to notify authorities of the sexual assault of a minor. Only in this situation — when a minor calls and chooses to reveal identifying information — does the pledge of confidentiality not apply.
While almost all callers are connected directly to a counselor, a handful of our local affiliates use an answering service after regular business hours. In these cases, callers may choose to leave a phone number with the answering service, in which case the number will be confidential and will be given directly to a counselor to call back. Or, callers may...