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Bring the Hotline Home!

In the past 12 months, SARA answered 215 hotline calls. Within the same period, an answering service handled 180 calls, almost half of our hotline calls. There are benefits and challenges to an answering service outlined below, but we want to address the root issue and we need your help to make it happen! 

SARA staff answers the hotline as much as we can. When we do not have adequate capacity to answer our own hotline, we turn to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance who provides an answering service to members at a reasonable cost. Operators at the statewide hotline often answer several hotlines at once. With a vast service area, they cannot be familiar with all the local service-providers or resources. When multiple calls come in, operators take messages to free up the lines. Messages are passed to local organizations who call individuals back when the next staff member is available. It's a band aid. 

What is the solution? Bring the hotline home. When our local hotline is answered by volunteers in our community, callers receive better services. SARA has only one hotline, so there is less threat of simultaneous calls. Local volunteers are trained by SARA, have information about our services, and understand community resources to assist survivors in systems navigation. Local survivors deserve local support.

What is answering the hotline like? 

Hotline work is challenging and emotional work. It can also be rewarding. A call might last 5 minutes or 95 minutes, and always centers three main goals: 

We provide ample training and support for you in this role. In fact, the next hotline training starts at the end of summer (details below). Learn more about becoming a volunteer and help us bring the hotline home!


SARA's 24/7 hotline offers free and confidential support to survivors of sexual violence and their friends and families, allied professionals, and the general public. Hotline volunteers help provide callers with appropriate referrals and resources to empower callers to make their own choices and conduct their own healing process. ​


Minimum volunteer commitment: 1-2 shifts/month. Shifts range from 4-12 hour blocks on weeknights, weekends, and holidays. Hotline volunteers must commit to the Hotline Volunteer role for at least 1 year.

Crisis Services Training:Volunteers will be trained in many elements of crisis line work through the duration of training. Training consists of a mixture of lecture, small group activities, and call simulation.

Topics include:​

Summer Crisis Services Training 2024 (Location TBD but will likely be near the downtown mall or at UVA)

Monday, July 22, 5:30-8:30pm
Wednesday, July 24, 5:30-8:30pm
Monday, July 29, 5:30-8:30pm
Wednesday, July 31, 5:30-8:30pm
Saturday, August 3, 10am-4pm
Monday, August 5, 5:30-8:30pm
Wednesday, August 7, 5:30-8:30pm
Saturday, August 10, 10am-4pm

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