Michigan Opens First Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline
Michigan is now the second state in the nation with an operational sexual assault helpline. The hotline is available 24 hours a day every day and reachable at 1-855-VOICES4.
This new confidential, 24-hour sexual assault hotline will provide crisis support and referrals to survivors and their friends and family.
“The launch of this hotline is the latest – and one of the most important – steps in Michigan’s efforts to support survivors of sexual assault as they go through the healing process,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “Sue and I want survivors to know that trained, caring professionals are prepared to listen and assist them along their journey toward healing.”
The Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence is operating the call center. It has nine lines plus four backups. The hotline will be staffed by professional crisis counselors with specialized training in crisis intervention, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, victim’s rights, health options and Michigan law.
People who call can stay on the line and get counseling for as long as they want. Counselors may also connect them directly with sexual assault programs in local communities for additional counseling, advocacy and support services. Hotline staff can help connect victims with community-based sexual assault programs that offer additional counseling, advocacy and support. Hotline staff also can connect victims with other Michigan services such as Crime Victims Compensation and the Michigan Victim Information and Notification Everyday (MI-VINE), an electronic victim notification service.
The Larry Nassar scandal caused the state to think about how to better serve all victims of sexual assault.
“It was a horrific situation to have happen, so you wish it had never happened. As a practical matter, it could also be a way, though, to have other people that were not part of it now feel that they could reach out to people and get help,” Snyder said.
It should be noted that the hotline is not intended for reporting sexual assaults to law enforcement. Those who wish to file a police report should call 911 or local law enforcement.
To learn more about First Lady Sue Snyder’s Inform. Empower. Prevent. Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault initiative, visit: www.EndCampusSexualAssault.com
*Sources: MLive & State of Michigan