Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,500,000)
RAINN is the largest provider of services to sexual assault victims in the U.S. and to members of the U.S. military worldwide. RAINN has the experience, capability, and expertise to create, expand, and embrace the use of technology to provide one-on-one crisis intervention, support, and vetted resources for victims of sexual violence and loved ones nationally. In 2020, RAINN’s victim service programs helped 323,122 survivors and their loved ones — double the number in 2015. The biggest increase in demand has been for our Online Hotline, which is staffed by a combination of employees and volunteers. Despite this tremendous growth in people served, hundreds of individuals, discouraged by long wait times, leave every day before receiving services. The Online Hotline provides one-on-one crisis intervention, support, and vetted resources to survivors in a confidential, online chat format. Under this grant, RAINN proposes to expand our dynamic workforce to increase hotline staffing and volunteer hours to meet the growing demand for our high-quality services. We propose to provide 41,250 new staff and volunteer hours to deliver crisis assistance and support 24/7 to visitors. RAINN will also launch a targeted outreach and advertising campaign to encourage the use of our Spanish-language hotline services. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13 percent of the U.S. population are native Spanish speakers and are most comfortable speaking in Spanish. In 2015, RAINN launched a program to offer hotline services in Spanish at rainn.org/es/. Currently, the number of English-speaking survivors seeking RAINN’s online hotline services is far greater than those seeking Spanish-language services. Yet, 49 percent of Latina women have experienced sexual violence during their lifetimes. We believe that with a targeted outreach and advertising campaign and dedicated staff to develop partnerships with other organizations serving Spanish-speaking communities, we can reach far more Spanish-speaking survivors and their loved ones. Finally, this grant will support ongoing capacity building, maintenance, and updates for RAINN’s chatbot. With capacity building and maintenance support, the chatbot can create better-tailored content and resources to provide immediate critical information and referrals for survivors and loved ones. RAINN, an existing OVC grantee, will ensure the goals set in this proposal are met to serve more survivors and loved ones with appropriate and innovative services, and broaden our reach to include thousands of additional survivors who have not yet received the support they need and deserve.