Updated: Dec 11, 2021
You may have heard that we have a 24/7 crisis hotline. Calling a hotline can be a very scary experience, especially when calling for the first time. So, what can you expect when you call and what are the steps? Firstly, the SARA hotline is free and confidential and open to survivors of sexual violence and their friends and families, allied professionals, and the general public. The hotline is answered by SARA staff, trained volunteers, and occasionally the Action Alliance (a state-wide sexual violence agency).
Staff and volunteers go through mandatory interview, reference-checking, and training process. All people answering hotline calls adhere to strict confidentiality and only break confidentiality in 4 special circumstances: if the disclosure involves 1) thoughts of harming yourself or others; 2) abuse of a minor (under 18); 3) abuse of an elderly person (65+); or 4) abuse of a person with disabilities.
Our hotline is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week for crisis intervention and resource referrals. When you are ready to call the number is 434-977-7273. The hotline will ring a couple times and then be transferred to the person on call so it might ring a few times before someone answers, but someone will answer. The person on the other end may pick up the phone in several different ways, most people’s go to is “SARA Hotline” or “Sexual Assault Resource Agency.” When our hotline is being forwarded to the Action Alliance, their normal greeting is “Virginia State-Wide Hotline.”
After the greeting, you are welcome to discuss whatever brought you to call the hotline. You can share as much or as little of what’s going on as you are comfortable with. The SARA staff member or volunteer will listen non-judgmentally and with empathy. They may ask you a couple follow up questions to get a better sense of what resources they can refer you to.
Staff and volunteers on our hotline can provide potential options, next steps, referrals, and grounding exercises but you are in control of the call and can decline any part of what we may ask or offer. If you are interested in therapy and/or working with one of our full-time advocates, we will ask for your name, number, and what city/county you are in so an advocate can get back in touch.
Language interpretation is available. Once you call our hotline, we will call an interpreter into the conversation. For TTY services, please call 866-663-6482.
After the phone call, you can practice some self-care and you are more than welcome to call back at any time.
If calling on the phone isn’t your thing, that’s totally ok! We also offer a textline during business hours (Monday-Friday 9-5pm). To access the textline text SARA to 434-295-7273.