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Senate Resolution 537--Supporting the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Commending the Hotline for Counseling and Supporting More than 1,000,000 ...

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BIDEN (for himself and Mr. Specter) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary:

S. Res. 537

Whereas it is estimated that a sexual assault occurs every 2.5 minutes in the United States and more than 200,000 people in the United States each year are victims of sexual assault;

Whereas 1 of every 6 women and 1 of every 33 men in the United States have been victims of rape or attempted rape, according to the Department of Justice;

Whereas the Uniform Crime Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation rank rape second only to murder in the hierarchy of violent crimes;

Whereas research suggests that sexual assault victims who receive counseling are more likely to report the assault to the police and to participate in the prosecution of the offender;

Whereas, in June 2006, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (referred to in this preamble as ``Hotline'') helped its 1,000,000th caller;

Whereas the Hotline operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, offering important, free, and confidential crisis intervention, support, information, and referrals for victims of sexual assault and their friends and families;

Whereas the Hotline was created by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (referred to in this preamble as ``RAINN''), a non-profit corporation, the headquarters of which are located in Washington, D.C.;

Whereas the Hotline answered its first call on July 27, 1994, and operated solely with private funds for the first 10 years the Hotline was in existence;

Whereas RAINN continues to operate the Hotline today, in partnership with 1,100 local rape crisis centers in the 50 States and the District of Columbia and with over 10,000 trained volunteers and staff, and in collaboration with coalitions against sexual assault in each of the 50 States;

Whereas the Hotline helps an average of 11,000 people each month and in 2005 helped 137,039 women, men, and children across the Nation;

Whereas the public education and outreach undertaken by RAINN and local rape crisis centers have increased public awareness of sexual violence and contributed to a 58-percent decline in crimes of sexual violence since 1993;

Whereas the Hotline has experienced a significant increase in call volume as public awareness of sexual violence has grown, with calls to the Hotline increasing by 43 percent since 2003;

Whereas millions of Americans have learned of the services available through the Hotline, thanks to the public service promotion contributed by every national broadcast television network, a dozen cable networks, and more than 1,000 radio stations, newspapers, and magazines; and

Whereas the Hotline serves as an outstanding example of a successful partnership between the Federal Government, the private sector, and individuals: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) supports the National Sexual Assault Hotline; and

(2) commends the National Sexual Assault Hotline for counseling and supporting more than 1,000,000 callers.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I speak today to submit a resolution with my good friend and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator SPECTER. Our resolution recognizes and commends the National Sexual Assault Hotline for counseling and helping more than 1 million callers. One of the most telling statistics since passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 is the number of individuals reporting rape to the authorities. Almost half--42 percent of rape victims are now stepping forward and reporting these heinous crimes to the authorities, while prior to 2002, only 31 percent reported their attacks. Each number represents a brave victim who steps forward and says out loud that she has been raped. For years, rape was a crime of shame. Our society blamed the victim. Police, lawyers, and judges focused on her conduct--what did she wear? where was she walking? was she drinking alcohol? Slowly but surely, we are working to change societal attitudes about rape and improve our criminal justice system to encourage reporting and prosecution of rapes, whether committed by the neighbor next door or a stranger in an alley.

A critical partner in our fight to end sexual assault has been the National Sexual Assault Hotline operated by RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. RAINN created this toll-free telephone hotline--1-800-656-HOPE--in 1994 and manages it with 1,100 local affiliates in 50 States, and the District of Columbia. Victims from across the country can telephone the Hotline and receive confidential, trained expertise from experienced professionals with the assistance of over 10,000 volunteers. In June 2006, the Hotline received its millionth call since it answered its first call in 1994. In 2005 alone, the Hotline helped 137,039 individuals, an average of 11,420 people a month.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is truly a national treasure. It helps individuals and families recover from a horrendous violation. It provides a safe haven for victims to talk about the crime, and offers referrals on local psychological and physical help. A call to the National Sexual Assault Hotline is often the first step towards justice for a victim. Research shows that victims who receive counseling are significantly more likely to report the assault, and more likely to fully participate in the prosecution. Every 2.5 minutes, another American is sexually assaulted. We are fortunate to have the hotline there to answer victims' calls for help and healing. The hotline's volunteers are doing God's work, and deserve our gratitude. I am proud to rise with my good friend from Pennsylvania to introduce a resolution marking the hotline's millionth call and commemorating the hotline's tremendous work to help America's families and make our streets safer.

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