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Using Technology to Expand and Improve National Sexual Assault Services

Award Information

Award #
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $1,199,682)

Through the OVC FY 2017 Vision 21: Advancing the Use of Technology to Assist Victims of Crime solicitation OVC seeks to support organizations which demonstrate innovative strategies to create, expand, or enhance use of technology initiatives on a national scale to improve response, services, and access for victims of crime. OVC seeks to address three areas, which may intersect depending on the applicant's proposed activities and project strategy. These are: 1) Coalition building; 2) Development of new national apps or creation of other technology platforms designed to serve victims of crime, including updates and maintenance for the length of the award; and 3) Expanding or enhancing (including updates and maintenance) existing service and hotline digital, online, text platforms and apps that use technology to provide services, referrals, tools, and information to victims of crime.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) will expand the National Sexual Assault Hotline (NSAH) by hiring additional staff and adding the "HelpRoom" feature, currently used on the Spanish line, as a feature of the main line and adaptable by local service providers. Increased capacity will help address recently increased demand and more complex calls which has led to increased wait times and dropped calls/chats. The "HelpRoom" feature, a moderated group chat service that allows victims to connect and support each other in a secure online environment, will be structured in such a way that it can be operated by RAINN or adapted by local providers who will be able to use RAINN's platform and technology and receive training free of charge. RAINN will also form a coalition of local sexual assault service providers.


Date Created: September 28, 2017