The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) announces today that it has launched a web chat hotline to give sexual assault survivors, their loved ones, and providers another way of accessing information, support, and referrals about sexual assault, harassment, and abuse.
The hotline expansion comes after a significant spike in requests for BARCC services since the #MeToo movement went viral and coverage of sexual assault increased, prompting multitudes of sexual assault survivors to seek assistance. The week following Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, BARCC saw a 366 percent increase in calls to our hotline. By 11:00 a.m. on the morning after her testimony, BARCC had already answered a day’s worth of calls, and that pace continued through the weekend.
“As more and more survivors seek help, we need additional ways for them to get the support and information they are looking for. Our web chat hotline will enable us to serve more survivors—including folks who may have limited phone access or no space to talk privately out loud, younger people who may gravitate toward communicating online, or people whose discomfort talking on the phone has prevented them from calling,” said BARCC Executive Director Gina Scaramella. “We want all survivors to be able to connect with BARCC with as much ease as possible, and this is an important step in that direction.”
The live web chat hotline is available at barcc.org/chat daily from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and can be used on mobile or desktop browsers. The web chat hotline is offered in addition to the organization’s long-running telephone hotline, 800-841-8371, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
BARCC’s hotline has been operating since 1973. It is staffed by highly trained and supervised volunteer rape crisis counselors and staff who talk with survivors, their families and friends, and providers about sexual violence. Hotline counselors field calls from people in crisis immediately after an assault as well as those who are seeking help for sexual abuse or an assault that they experienced years or decades ago. Hotline counselors offer a listening and supportive presence, help survivors understand the options and resources available to them, and provide referrals to services, including BARCC’s counseling, legal advocacy, and case management programs, as well as external services.
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About the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Since 1973, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) has been a leader in the movement to end sexual violence. BARCC empowers survivors of sexual violence to heal and provides education and advocacy for the social change needed to prevent sexual violence. BARCC provides free, confidential support to survivors of sexual violence and their families and friends. It also works with high schools, colleges, police, organizations, and communities to advocate for change by providing training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place. For more information, please visit barcc.org. Follow BARCC on social media: Twitter @barcc; Instagram @barccofficial; Facebook /barcc.org.