24-hour support, just a call away
Category: Crisis Response
Category: Crisis Response
“Resource Line, may I help you?”
Those six words connected more than 3,600 callers last year to the help and information they needed following a sexual assault.
KCSARC’s 24-Hour Resource Line is the backbone of our service. For many callers, it’s the first step to finding support and healing, either for themselves, their child, or another family member. The advocates who answer their call are sometimes the first people survivors tell about their abuse, whether it happened that day, or took place years ago.
Few people realize the unique approach KCSARC takes to staffing its Resource Line. A familiar model may be a large call center or an all-volunteer force. At KCSARC, this line is actually staffed by a team of experienced, long-serving professionals, many of whom have been with KCSARC for decades. Each advocate brings expertise in responding to assault survivors from previous and concurrent careers in therapy, case management, hospital social work, CASA work and more.
Resource Line advocates offer support, providing immediate crisis response, information, and referrals to additional resources.
“It’s important for a Resource Line advocate to build instant rapport with callers so they feel heard and understood,” KCSARC’s 24-Hour Resource Line Manager Laura Lurry explained.
Resource Line advocates validate the impact of sexual assault, normalize feelings that come as aresult, and teach immediate coping skills. They educate callers and empower them to understand what their next steps might be.
“Our job is to be sure callers have a place to trust again, to give them back some control after it’s been taken away,” Lurry said. “We remind them of their strength and worth, that what happened wasn’t their fault. We walk with them as they move forward.”
KCSARC hears from survivors and families with individual experiences and needs. Most frequent are adult survivors of childhood sexual assault, adult rape victims, parents of children who’ve experienced sexual assault and need to get help for their child, and teen callers.
The types of calls vary. Some are one-time callers, who turn to the Resource Line to get short-term support, information or crisis intervention, such as how to get medical exams. Some callers are in therapy and reach out for support and help managing feelings in between sessions. Still other callers will go on to connect with a client care specialist, and will access other services KCSARC offers, like legal advocacy or therapy.
The numbers of calls during the pandemic haven’t changed – but the needs of the callers have. Many callers lately are struggling to cope with feelings amid the shutdown, as usual distractions and connections in their lives have been lost.
KCSARC has also fielded calls from survivors wondering whether hospitals are still providing services like sexual assault nurse exams, or whether it is safe to go to the Emergency Department. As part of a multi-disciplinary team, KCSARC advocates stay in close touch with partners like hospitals in order to provide accurate information about where survivors can access medical help.
These multi-disciplinary teams include law enforcement, child protective services, schools, the prosecuting attorney’s office, and more. “Our number is everywhere in the community – even on King County Metro buses and in doctors’ offices,” Lurry said. “The community and our professional partners call this line to get help for their clients, and for themselves as they work with clients.”
KCSARC’s Resource Line serves as a primary resource and back up to other partners, such as RAINN, which diverts calls from area codes in King County directly to KCSARC. Another partner, Harborview Abuse and Trauma Center, depends on KCSARC to handle after-hours calls.
KCSARC also provides response for highly vulnerable victims in specific populations, such as inmates in prisons and jails who are victims of sexual assault. And when a new ordinance took effect this summer in Seattle to better protect hotel workers who experience sexual harassment or assault, the city chose KCSARC’s 24-Resource Line to provide support and immediate help.
“Our Resource Line will always be there on the front lines for survivors, for our community, for anyone who needs a safe place to talk,” said Lurry.
If you or someone you know needs help or information, KCSARC’s 24-Hour Resource Line can be reached at 888.99.VOICE (888.998.6423).