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Components

24/7 availability

The NSAOH is available on a 24 hour / 7 days a week basis through a link on the RAINN Web site. While the Web site can be accessed by any computer connected to the Internet, the site clearly notes that the service is intended only for residents of the United States since information is not available about resources in other countries.

Privacy, security and confidentiality, with consultation and support provided by America Online ® (AOL), McAfee and VeriSign ®, well-established information technology companies. The NSAOH promotes secure and anonymous communication through use of secure servers and software that removes the IP address (computer location) at login so that users cannot be tracked or identified. No record is kept of user chat conversations. In addition, NSAOH provides safety planning in order to help insure user privacy. NSAOH contains detailed instructions on how users can make sure that their computer is secure and that communications are confidential. In order to help maintain privacy, NSAOH has an escape button on the Website at all times. By clicking this button, the user is taken immediately to a weather-related Web site so that a user can leave NSAOH if someone enters the room in which they are typing.

Trained staff and volunteers

The primary role of staff and volunteers is emotional support, information and referral. To assist visitors, RAINN provides them with a comprehensive database of counseling centers nationally, as well as other local and national referral information. A visitor is referred to local resources for specific questions about legal issues. Staff and Volunteers use an online self-scheduling program with authentication to schedule their shifts. They also have access to a secure online forum to share strategies and lessons learned.

Infrastructure to support staff and volunteers

The NSAOH is available on a 24 hour / 7 days a week basis through a link on the RAINN Web site. While the Web site can be accessed by any computer connected to the Internet, the site clearly notes that the service is intended only for residents of the United States since information is not available about resources in other countries.

Availability of supervisors to assist staff and volunteers

Professional rape crisis personnel are online during all shifts to assist staff and volunteers or transfer a session in case they need assistance in situations that are beyond their capabilities. Staff and volunteers can reach supervisors through chat sessions at any time, including during a session with a user. Face to face supervision is also available in RAINN’s office on a monthly basis.

Availability of resource information

Information and referral and educational materials regarding criminal justice, medical and emotional issues are available to staff and volunteers to supplement their own knowledge of rape crisis information. Information can be accessed quickly through the staff dashboard during a session with a simple click and provided to users in a chat session.?In addition to referral information and resources, the staff dashboard has dozens of standard responses that help staff and volunteers navigate difficult sessions and provide consistent support. Some standard responses include contracting language in incidences of suicide and self-harm and how to handle difficult visitors. Staff are trained on how to edit the standard responses to match the tone of the conversation to avoid sounding automated or too formal.

Mandatory Reporting

All 50 states have passed some form of a mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting laws and all require professions such as social workers and counselors to report child abuse (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2005). Rape crisis center staff and volunteers are mandatory reporters with regards to child abuse. This reporting requirement is especially problematic on a hotline that seeks to insure user privacy while upholding the legal requirement for reporting child abuse. It is further complicated because the laws in each state differ in terms of what kinds and level of abuse must be reported and for what age a report must be made. The NSAOH, in consultation with the University of California, Berkley Law School, developed guidelines and procedures in order to meet the mandatory reporting requirement in all 50 states; this information is researched and updated annually by an outside law firm. Information about RAINN’s mandatory reporting policy, and a warning that certain disclosures may trigger mandatory reporting, are included in the user agreement, which is shown to users before they enter a NSAOH session. NSAOH protocols instruct staff and volunteers to have an initial conversation with a user that addresses mandatory reporting and informs users that certain types of information, if revealed, would trigger a mandatory report. Staff and Volunteers support and encourage users to file reports of abuse when appropriate. All staff and volunteers are considered mandatory reporters and trained to alert their National Volunteer Supervisor (NVS), who has had additional training on mandatory reporting issues, if the user shares information that may trigger a reporting requirement, or if a question comes up regarding possible reporting obligations. RAINN staff checks the appropriate state law and makes the report as required by law. RAINN maintains an up-to date database of all 50 state’s mandatory reporting laws.

The ecomap visually shows the extent of RAINN collaborations with public and private organizations as well as with individuals.

Answer the questions below

  • In your notebook, using the RAINN Components, describe how RAINN components differ from a traditional agency.

  • In your notebook, describe what is meant by “Mandatory Reporting”. How does RAINN attempt to meet its mandatory reporting requirements?

  • In your notebook, describe what challenges RAINN faces in providing services that are not faced by more traditional organizations.

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Funding

View Rainn's funding sources.