Volunteer and user evaluation of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline
Purpose The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (NSAOH) is a new model for delivery of rape and sexual assault crisis services through a secure, confidential chat-based online hotline. This paper presents a program evaluation drawn from volunteer counselor and user perceptions and experiences during the second year of operation of the NSAOH.Method Outcome data are presented from 731 session evaluations submitted by 94 volunteers and session evaluations from 4609 user sessions collected between June 1, 2008 and May 30, 2009. Evaluation includes ratings of usefulness, topics discussed, length of sessions, services provided, and session difficulties.Results The results indicate that the model is viable and useful, and the majority of volunteers and users are satisfied. Volunteer knowledge and skills are strongly associated with satisfaction with the hotline. Nevertheless, one-fifth of volunteers rate their session as not useful and users rate 8.2% of volunteers low in knowledge and skills.Discussion NSAOH is reaching many who have not previously sought services or did not resolve issues through other means. Findings suggest the importance of preparing volunteers in both crisis intervention and a wide variety of long-term issues related to sexual assault. Recommendations for program development, evaluation, and further research are presented.
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