The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. It’s widely known for its National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Thursday, during and following the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee, RAINN received more calls than it could handle.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. RAINN Saw a Dramatic & Unprecedented Increase of Calls to Its National Sexual Assault Hotline Thursday

The number of people helped by the National Sexual Assault Hotline was 201% above average yesterday.

RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone at 800-656-4673 (800-656-HOPE) and online.

“We work closely with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers to offer confidential support services to survivors regardless of where they are in their recovery,” Rainn says.

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“We are experiencing unprecedented wait times for our online chat. If you are able, we encourage you to call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or reach out via chat tomorrow. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.”

But RAINN is also helping survivors cope. “Hearing about sexual violence in the media and online can be very difficult for survivors and their loved ones. Remember to take care of yourself during these times.”

2. RAINN Urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to Delay Its Confirmation Vote on Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

“RAINN calls on @senjudiciary to postpone the vote on #JudgeKavanaugh”

“It is clear from yesterday’s hearing that a postponement of the vote is needed until the FBI reopens a background check to investigate the allegations of sexual assault,” said Jodi Omear, RAINN vice president of communications. “The risks of a brief delay in a confirmation vote are far less than the risks of a lifetime appointment made in haste.”

RAINN has been involved in public policy for more than two decades. Its “policy team works at the federal and state level to improve the criminal justice system, prevent sexual assault, and ensure justice for survivors.”

RAINN says it helps “create and advocate for laws and regulations that make communities safer and support survivors.”

RAINN works with the federal departments of Justice, Education, and Health & Human Services to “improve the federal response to sexual violence.”

The agency led the “national effort to end the rape kit backlog, while collaborating with allies to promote state action through the Rape Kit Action Project” and it works to maintain databases for state agencies to help “students, lawmakers, and others seeking to understand sexual violence laws across the nation.”

3. How the National Sexual Assault Hotline Works

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If someone is in need of help and call the hotline, they’ll be connected with a “trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.”

Callers are “routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the ZIP code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.”

When someone calls the National Sexual Assault Hotline free confidential services include: help finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams; a staff member to help callers “talk through what happened;” provide local resources and local referrals for immediate and long term support; information about local laws; and basic information about medical concerns.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a “safe and confidential” hotline where only the first six numbers of the phone number are used to route the call and “complete phone number is never stored in our system. Most states do have laws that require local staff to contact authorities in certain situations, like if there is a child or vulnerable adult who is in danger.”

4. RAINN Has Helped 2.7 Million Since 1994. It Says 7 Out of 10 Victims Don’t Report Sexual Assaults

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Created and operated in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country, RAINN also carries out “programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”

In reaching out to people to encourage them to call if they need help, RAINN says, “While almost all callers are connected directly to a staff member or volunteer at a local sexual assault service provider, a handful of providers use an answering service after daytime business hours. This service helps manage the flow of calls. If all staff members are busy, you may choose to leave a phone number with the answering service. In this case, the number will be confidential and will be given directly to the organization’s staff member for a callback. If you reach an answering service, you can try calling back after some time has passed, or you can choose to call during regular business hours when more staff members are available.”

5. RAINN is ‘Victim-Centered’ & Has a ‘Trauma-Informed’ Approach to Sexual Assault Survivors & Provides a Special Hotline for Department of Defense for Military Sexual Assault

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The victim services experts at RAINN “take a victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to developing programs and services that support survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones,” its website reads.

It describes itself as the “country’s leading provider of sexual assault services, we have developed programs to help survivors in all stages of recovery.”

RAINN also operates the Department of Defense Safe Helpline for members of the military “community who have been affected by sexual assault.”

In addition to providing the hotlines, it offers “innovative technology and services for partners in the field, including organizations, universities, and government agencies.”

It also trains “companies and organizations, as well as staff and volunteers at more than 1,000 local sexual assault service provider partners.”

“We work with volunteers across the country to make a difference in the lives of survivors,” it says.

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