Terms of Service


Welcome to RAINN's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. We have designed this Online Hotline with your privacy and safety as the top priority. Before logging in to the Online Hotline, please read each of the following policies carefully.

1. Safety
Please read our User Safety Procedures below. Your safety is very important, so read this information now, before you use this service. There are things that you need to do on your own computer in order to stay safe. This is especially important if you are using a shared computer, or if you suspect that someone is monitoring your computer.

  • If you think your computer is not safe and private, find a safer computer.
  • We have taken numerous measures to keep your communications safe while using our site. However, please note that no Internet transmissions are 100% secure.
  • If you would prefer to talk to someone by telephone, call 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)

2. Privacy and Confidentiality
Please read our Privacy Policy below.

  • We do not ask for any information that can be used to identify you.
  • RAINN does not record or store support sessions. To protect your privacy, we highly recommend you do not record or store the session either.
  • If we fear that you are in danger of committing suicide, if you are under 13, or otherwise as required by law, we may have to provide the information that you have given us to the appropriate authorities.
  • Although we have taken precautions to protect your confidentiality, it is possible that a court of law will not keep private, and may require us to reveal, information that you provide during your Online Hotline session. If you are concerned about this possibility, please use the telephone hotline instead, at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673).

3. User Agreement
Please read our User Agreement below.

When you use the Online Hotline, you agree that RAINN and its affiliates will not be liable for any damages or injuries resulting from the use, or inability to use, the Online Hotline and its contents.

When you check the boxes below, it means that you understand and agree to the terms of these agreements and policies. If you do not agree, you may not use the Online Hotline.

When you check the boxes below, it means that you understand and agree to the terms of these agreements and policies. If you do not agree, you may not use the Online Hotline.

Full Text of Agreements

Computer Safety
The following are precautions that you can take to make your computer as safe as possible so that your privacy is protected.

Cache and History Cleaning and Erasing Cookies

Once you have finished your session with a Trained Volunteer it is important that you clean your cache and history and erase the cookies on your computer so that people are not able to go onto your computer and check up on what you have been doing. The following is step-by-step directions on how to clean the cache and history on your computer. The directions are operating system and browser specific so make sure to pay attention to the relevant information for your computer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have any reason to suspect that someone may be tracking your computer usage, please think carefully about whether or not you will want to complete these privacy steps. If someone is tracking your computer usage, they may grow suspicious if all records of internet activity disappear.

What is Cache?
The cache is an area of the hard disc where web pages are stored when a page is downloaded from the internet. It allows for recently viewed pages to be viewed more rapidly or even offline.

What is History?
A list of the different URLs (or websites) you have visited. This is what fills in the URL line for you when you are returning to a website you have visited before.

To see your history on a Mac, type Apple + H.
To see your history on a PC, type Control + H.

What Are Cookies?
Cookies are storage files that collect personal information that you have provided to particular vendors on the internet (e.g., your name, address, phone number, things you have ordered, etc.). Only information you have provided is stored and cookies are used to speed up the interactive process when you are online with a vendor. For instance, when you go to Amazon.com you may notice that the advertisements seem to be relevant to your interests, that is because your reading and music preferences are stored in cookies so that the web page can advertise specific deals that fit your taste.

Clearing the Cache and History:
Firefox for the MAC :
Clearing the Cache:
1. Click on Firefox from the top menu
2. Under Firefox, click on Preferences
3. Click on Privacy
4. Click on the tab labeled Cache
5. Click on Clear Cache Now button

Clearing the History:
1. Click on Firefox from the top menu
2. Under Firefox, click on Preferences
3. Click on the Privacy icon
4. Click on the tab labeled History
5. Click on Clear Browsing History Now button

Erasing Cookies:
1. Click on Firefox from the top menu
2. Under Firefox, click on Preferences
3. Click on Privacy icon
4. Click on the tab labeled Cookies
5. Click on Clear Cookies Now button

Firefox for the PC:
1. Select Tools from the top menu, and Options from the drop down list.
2. Click on the Privacy button in the left menu.
3. To clear the list of sites that you have visited, select History and then click the Clear button.
4. To clear your Cookies and Cache from the Privacy list, and then click the Clear button.

Internet Explorer 6.0 for the PC:

Clear the Cache:
1. Select Tools from the top menu, and click Internet Options
2. On the Internet Options window, click the Delete Files... button
3. If you are prompted for confirmation, click OK

Erasing Cookies:
1. After clearing your cache you can continue on to erase your cookies.
2. On the Internet Options window, click Delete Cookies... button
3. If you are prompted for confirmation, click OK
4. Click OK to return to Internet Explorer.

Clear the History:
1. Select Tools from the top menu, and click Internet Options
2. Click on the Clear History button
3. When you have completed the changes you wish to make, click OK

Further Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself

Updating Windows:
If you use a Windows operating system, you may want to make sure that your Windows is as up-to-date as possible. For information on how to do this go to "Use Microsoft Update to Help Keep Your Computer Content" (http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/update/msupdate_keep_current.mspx)

Protecting Yourself from Viruses and Spyware:
If you don't already use up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs in order to keep your computer safer, we recommend that you either buy or download a free program that will help to protect you and your computer.

In order to facilitate your obtaining such programs we have provided you with links that will direct you to both paid and free anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.

Paid Software:
Top Ten Anti-Virus Programs (http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/)
Top Ten Anti-Spyware Programs (http://anti-spyware-review.toptenreviews.com/)

Free Software:
Google Pack (http://pack.google.com/pack_installer_required.html)

Freebyte's Guide to Free Anti-Virus Software (http://www.freebyte.com/antivirus/)
Tech Support Alert's List of the 46 Best Freeware Utilities (http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_46_free_utilities.htm)
The Anti-Spyware Guide ( http://www.firewallguide.com/spyware.htm) which has links to both free and paid programs

Protecting Yourself from Keystroke Logging:
Keystroke logging is when someone has installed hardware or software onto your computer that tracks all typing that you do. This means that they can trace everything you do on your computer from what you type to tracking down usernames and passwords. For obvious reasons this is a dangerous and aggressive form of tracking and can be a difficult thing to trace. For more information on how to see if you have keystroke logging, and what possible options are for removal visit the following article: Privacy Watch: Don't Let Anyone Secretly Track Your Keystrokes

Google Desktop Search
Google Desktop Search is a popular tool that mimics the Google website search techniques on your personal computer so that you can search for files in your computer in a new and faster way. While this may be a nice feature and you may enjoy using it, it also poses a security threat in that it can then save log-in names and passwords, save the webpages you go to (i.e., the Online Hotline), and store information that you access from the Online Hotline.

Therefore, we suggest that if you have Google Desktop Search on your computer you disable it before using the Online Hotline so as to protect your private information.

Online Privacy Policy Effective Date: March 8, 2006

This Online Privacy Policy is intended to describe how the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network ("RAINN") handles information gathered at www.rainn.org ("RAINN.org") and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, which is reached through RAINN.org (the "Online Hotline"). By visiting RAINN.org, or using the Online Hotline, you agree to follow the terms and conditions of this Online Privacy Policy. RAINN may change these terms and conditions from time to time without prior notification, so please consult these terms and conditions regularly for any such changes.

Your privacy and security are very important to us. The following information will help you understand what information we collect online, and how we handle that information once we collect it. This policy will tell you if we disclose that information to anyone, and what choices you have regarding how we use that information. Please note that this Online Privacy Policy applies only to RAINN.org and to the Online Hotline website, and not to the websites of any other organizations to which we may link or that may link to us.

Collection of Information About You

Section A tells you how RAINN gathers information from users of the Online Hotline, and Section B tells you how RAINN gathers information from users of RAINN.org. If you are only using the RAINN.org website generally and are not using the Online Hotline, Section A (immediately below) does NOT apply to you; you should read Section B.

If you decide to use the Online Hotline and then use the RAINN.org website separately or during the same time frame, your use of the Online Hotline cannot be connected to your use of RAINN.org.

A.Online Hotline.

We operate the Online Hotline in conjunction with participating rape crisis centers ("RCCs") and the Rape Crisis Center for Children & Adults ("RCCCA"). The RCCs provide trained volunteers to help you during online sessions, and RCCCA provides supervisors to help monitor online sessions. Any information that you share during an Online Hotline session will be viewed by the trained volunteer assisting you, and may also be viewed by one or more supervisors from a RCC or the RCCCA for quality control purposes.

If you provide feedback through an anonymous feedback survey following your session, that feedback may be shared with the trained volunteer assisting you, and with personnel at RAINN and the participating RCC. However, the feedback will be anonymous, and we will not ask for your name or any personal information, or attach any feedback to information that you provide during your Online Hotline session.

Personally Identifiable Information: "Personally Identifiable Information" is information about you that would identify you, such as your name or address. The Online Hotline is intended to be an anonymous service and you will NOT be asked to provide your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, or any other Personally Identifiable Information at any time during your use of the Online Hotline. In fact, RAINN specifically requests, for your own safety and anonymity, that you do not provide any such Personally Identifiable Information when you use the Online Hotline. In addition, the Online Hotline does not capture any Personally Identifiable Information about you or your computer, before or during your use of the services.

The information and text conveyed by you to our trained volunteers during your online chat session is intended to be part of a private conversation between you and the trained volunteer, and will NOT be recorded, stored, saved, or catalogued by RAINN. However, in order to determine usage levels and average session length, and for other recordkeeping purposes, an entry will be made in a database containing the start and stop time of each session.

Aggregate Data & Cookies: We automatically gather, or aggregate, certain usage information, such as the number of users of the Online Hotline, length of stay and average length of sessions. This data cannot be used to identify you personally, and helps us to determine how often the Online Hotline is being used, at what times of the day, and other useful statistics. We may use this aggregate data for internal recordkeeping and service improvement purposes, and also may share it with sponsors, supporters or the media.

The Online Hotline does NOT place any permanent or "persistent" cookies on your computer, although RAINN.org does use session cookies (see below). The cookies placed by RAINN.org cannot be used to identify you as a user of the Online Hotline.

B. RAINN.org

Personally Identifiable Information:

General. In general, visitors may browse RAINN.org without being requested to reveal any Personally Identifiable Information. However, there are pages on RAINN.org, such as donation pages, where we may request Personally Identifiable Information about you, such as your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, or credit card number. RAINN.org may also collect information such as your computer's IP address. RAINN may seek such information in order to register you as a supporter of RAINN, to enable your making a donation or purchasing merchandise, or to use certain parts of the RAINN.org website. In addition, we may use such information to analyze site usage for RAINN.org, to improve our content, and customize our site's content, layout and services. Finally, we may use your e-mail address to send you updates or newsletters apprising you of recent events and developments relating to RAINN and its mission, or receipts for your charitable donations.

Registration. In order to use many of the features of RAINN.org, you will be asked to register with RAINN. The information you submit as part of the registration process is used to update and maintain our files. We collect and save such information so that you are not required to submit it every time you use a feature. When you register with us, you will be asked to provide your e-mail address and select a password. You will also be asked to provide certain other personal information so that we may readily identify you. The RAINN website is designed to process and maintain accurately the information that you share with us. You are invited to access our website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to change your profile information, and are encouraged to provide us with feedback.

Other Uses. We may use internal service providers to facilitate our services, and, therefore, may provide some of your Personally Identifiable Information directly to them. In addition, we may employ other companies and individuals to perform functions on our behalf, such as website hosting, data analysis, and providing customer service. These companies and individuals will only have access to Personally Identifiable Information needed to perform their functions, and may not use it for any other purpose.

Opt-Out Procedures. When you register at RAINN.org, we may send you e-mails or newsletters, to update you on events and developments pertinent to RAINN and our charitable goals. If you do not want to receive such e-mails, or if you want us to remove your profile or other information from our files for any reason, please email info@rainn.org and we will remove you from our system.

Aggregate Data & Cookies: We automatically gather, or aggregate, certain usage information, such as the number and frequency of visitors to RAINN.org, length of stay, and other anonymous data. This data helps us determine usage levels on different parts of RAINN.org, and to conduct other internal research. In addition, we may aggregate such data and disclose it in a non-personally identifiable manner to sponsors, supporters, and other third parties, to generate support for RAINN, its mission and its services, or as required by law. In these situations, we do not disclose any information that could be used to identify you personally.

For example, RAINN.org uses "session ID cookies." In general, a "cookie" is a small piece of text data stored on a user's computer by a website, in order to give that computer a unique identity to the website while performing certain processes, such as filling an online shopping cart and checking out, or calculating the number of unique visitors at a given time. Cookies may contain personal information, like email addresses, usernames, or passwords, or completely anonymous information, like a randomly generated number. They may be deleted once a user leaves the site, leaves a section of the site, or closes the browser; or they may remain, so that the website "remembers" the user when he or she next visits.

On RAINN.org, we use two session ID cookies. The first is used to measure the amount of overall traffic on our website; we use this data only in the aggregate, meaning no individual user can be identified from the data. This cookie is in no way linked to Personally Identifiable Information, and is deleted from the user's computer when the user closes his or her browser. The second session ID cookie is only used when a user is making a donation or purchasing merchandise. This cookie carries a user's form entries from one page to another, and is deleted once the user leaves the "Donate" section of RAINN.org. We do not use permanent cookies, which retain information past a user's current visit.

How We Protect Your Security

RAINN stores any information on a secure server that is only accessible by RAINN employees or contractors, pursuant to the terms described above. Again, we do not store transcripts of communications over the Online Hotline.

We care about the security of your personal information, and therefore have chosen to use VeriSign as a security solutions provider.

We employ different security techniques to protect your personal information from unauthorized access by users inside and outside of our organization, including standard encryption practices. You should be aware, however, that "perfect security" does not exist anywhere on the Internet. ALTHOUGH WE BELIEVE WE TAKE APPROPRIATE MEASURES TO SAFEGUARD AGAINST UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURES OF INFORMATION, WE CANNOT ASSURE YOU THAT YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE ONLINE HOTLINE WILL NEVER BE DISCLOSED IN A MANNER INCONSISTENT WITH THIS POLICY, AND MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES REGARDING THE SUFFICIENCY OF OUR SECURITY MEASURES.

Always be careful and responsible regarding your personal information. We are not responsible for, and cannot control, the use by others of any information which you provide or divulge to them, purposefully or inadvertently, including your e-mail address and password for RAINN.org. For more information on how to keep your computer safe, please read our User Safety Procedures above.

How We May Share Information

We will not publish, sell, share, or rent information about you in ways different from what is disclosed in this statement. However, we, including trained volunteers, RCCs, and RCCCA, may be forced to disclose information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances. We may be required to (and you authorize us to) reveal any information about you that we possess to law enforcement or other government officials as we, in our sole discretion, believe is necessary or appropriate, in connection with the investigation of a crime, mandatory reporting laws, fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal, or may expose us, or you, to liability. Also, if we, or a trained volunteer, RCC, or RCCCA, fear that you are in danger of committing suicide, or are under 13 years old, we, or the trained volunteer, RCC, or RCCCA, may be required to disclose whatever information you have provided to the appropriate authorities. Trained volunteers are located across the United States. This means that the laws of the trained volunteer's state may apply to your communications with that trained volunteer. Such laws may not protect your communications to the same degree, or in the same way, as the laws of your state. It is possible that a court of law will not keep private, and may require us to reveal, information that you provide during your Online Hotline session. If you are concerned about this possibility, please use the telephone hotline instead, at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673). The data that we collect, and therefore may share, is limited in the manner described above.

Our Policy Towards Children

We are concerned about the safety and privacy of children who use the Internet. Consistent with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, we will never knowingly request Personally Identifiable Information from anyone under the age of 13 without prior verifiable parental consent. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with Personally Identifiable Information through RAINN.org without verifiable parental consent, we will use our best efforts to remove such information from our files. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with Personally Identifiable Information through RAINN.org without verifiable parental consent, he or she should contact RAINN at 202.544.2348 or info@rainn.org.

Other Information Collectors

Except as otherwise expressly included in this Online Privacy Policy, this document addresses the use and disclosure of information that we collect from you. If you disclose your information to others, different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of such information. We do not control the privacy policies of others. We encourage you to ask questions before you disclose your personal information to others.

Your Consent and Changes in Privacy Pledge

By using the Online Hotline or RAINN.org, you consent to the terms set forth in this Privacy Policy and the Website User Agreement. We may, from time to time, make changes to this Online Privacy Policy, based on your comments and our need to reflect accurately our data collection and disclosure practices. If we make any substantial changes in the way we use your personal information, this page will be updated and we will post a prominent announcement on RAINN.org.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this privacy policy, please contact info@rainn.org. Alternatively, you can mail RAINN at:

Privacy Coordinator
2000 L St. NW
Suite 406
Washington, DC 20036

Please only address questions about the privacy pledge to the above addresses. If you are concerned about a specific page, please email info@rainn.org.

Website User Agreement Effective Date: March 8, 2006

Welcome to RAINN.org (www.rainn.org) and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline ("Online Hotline"). This website is operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network ("RAINN"). Please read this Website User Agreement carefully, including our Online Privacy Policy. By using RAINN.org and the Online Hotline, you agree to follow the rules set forth here.

Online Privacy Policy

Please review our Online Privacy Policy above, which is part of this Website User Agreement, and describes how we handle information about RAINN.org users and users of the Online Hotline. Please also review our User Safety Procedures above, which tell you what you can do to keep private your communications with RAINN.

Restrictions on Use

All content included on this site, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, photographs, audio clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software, is the property of RAINN or its content suppliers, and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.

Users of this site may not copy, print, or distribute any of its contents, with the exception of resource articles provided on the website or in the Resource Library. Such resource articles may be used only for informational, non-commercial purposes.

Linking to this site is permitted, as long as the link does not falsely imply or suggest that RAINN has endorsed or is affiliated with the linked site.

Termination of Access to Website

We may, in our sole discretion, terminate or suspend your access to all or part of this website at any time, with or without notice to you, for any reason, including, without limitation, breach of this Agreement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any fraudulent, abusive, or otherwise illegal activity, or activity that may otherwise affect the enjoyment of this website or access to this website by others, may be grounds for termination of your access to all or part of this website at our sole discretion.

Copyright Notice

RAINN respects the intellectual property rights of others and reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to block and/or terminate access to this site from those that infringe on the rights of others.

Copyright Policy

If you believe that a copyright work that you own (or have an exclusive right to) has been copied without your authorization, and is accessible on our website, you may notify us by providing the following information to our designated contact.

  1. Give enough information to enable RAINN to contact you regarding your complaint, including your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address, if available.
  2. Identify the material(s) and/or work(s) that you claim are being infringed upon on this site, and the material(s) that are causing such infringement, and give enough information (such as a web page address) to locate such material(s) or work(s) within the site.
  3. State that you have a good-faith belief that use of the material(s) or work(s) in (2) above is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
  4. State that the information in this notification is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that you either own the copyright (or an exclusive right under the copyright) in the material(s) or work(s) that you claim in (2) above are being infringed, or are authorized by such owner to act on its behalf.

Send your notice to our designated contact:

Lynn Parrish


RAINN Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network®, National Sexual Assault Hotline®, National Sexual Assault Online Hotline™, and other marks displayed on this site are trademarks of RAINN. All other trademarks displayed on this site not owned by RAINN are the property of their respective owners, who may or may not be affiliated with RAINN. You may not use these trademarks for any product or service that does not belong to RAINN, or in any manner likely to cause confusion about whether we are affiliated with any product or service.

Limitations of Liability

RAINN and its affiliates will not be liable for any damages or injury, including, but not limited to, special or consequential damages that result from the use of (or the inability to use) RAINN.org or the Online Hotline and its contents, or a site linked to this site, including any damages or injury caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, defect, delay in operation, computer virus, line failure, or other computer malfunction.

By using the Online Hotline, you acknowledge and understand that Online Hotline sessions are conducted by trained volunteers, who may not be licensed in your state or trained in your state's law. You further acknowledge and understand that the trained volunteers are not employees or agents of RAINN, and that RAINN assumes no responsibility for any act or omission by a trained volunteer.

Linked Sites

This site may link to or be linked from other sites that are not maintained by RAINN. RAINN does not endorse, and is not responsible for the content of, any of those sites.


All remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, or other information communicated to RAINN through RAINN.org or the Online Hotline ("Submissions") will forever be the property and intellectual property of RAINN. Unless RAINN expressly states to the contrary, RAINN will not be required to treat any submission as confidential. Further, RAINN will be entitled to use any Submission for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to you or anyone else.


The material in this site may include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. We may shut down the RAINN.org website and Online Hotline and end this Website User Agreement at any time. However, in the event of such a termination, the Limitations of Liability, Disclaimer, and Governing Law sections would continue to apply.



If you need professional services or counseling, please call the telephone hotline (1-800-656-HOPE (4673)) to discuss how to locate a legally-certified professional.

Revisions or Changes to this Website User Agreement

We may, from time to time, make changes to this Website User Agreement. If we make any substantial changes in the way we use your personal information, or to the rights and obligations set forth herein, we will update this page and/or the Online Privacy Policy and post a prominent announcement on RAINN.org.

International Use

RAINN makes no representation that materials on the RAINN.org website and the Online Hotline are appropriate or available for use in locations outside the United States. Access to this site from countries or territories where such access is illegal is prohibited. Those who choose to access this site outside the United States do so on their own initiative, and are responsible for compliance with local laws.

Governing Law

You agree that your use of this site, this Agreement and any disputes relating thereto shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the District of Columbia. Any dispute relating to this Agreement shall be resolved solely in the courts located in the District of Columbia.

Thank you for visiting RAINN.org! Please contact RAINN at 202.544.2348, or info@rainn.org, if you have any questions about our website or this Website User Agreement.

© RAINN 2005