Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have conducted a study concerning the use and effectiveness of sexual assault helplines. The results of the study identify the important need for training in immediate and long-term effects of sexual assault.
According to the study, In the US alone there are more than 1,000 crisis hotline links yet, despite their widespread use, much remains unknown about their usefulness.
Marianna L. Colvin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University said: “For traumatic events in general, it is well known that telephone hotlines play an important role in providing immediate support for survivors. Despite the wide popularity of hotlines, we know very little about if, and how, they meet their goals. Furthermore, community programs have limited evidence-based guidance for developing or implementing training curricula, or ‘best practice models’.”
Leading child abuse lawyer, Peter Garsden of Simpson Millar solicitors has worked with survivor groups in the UK, delivering training to their frontline staff. Commenting on the study he said: “The benefits of a sexual abuse hotline cannot be underestimated. It gives survivors of abuse a voice, as well as the feeling that someone is there to listen to their stories, which often they have been unable to share with anyone else. It is a safe environment for survivors to offload their feelings to a perfect stranger whom they have no relationship with. The secondary impact to helpline operators, and of listening to distressing accounts of abuse must not be ignored and worthwhile training utilised.”
To read more about the FAU research click here