Lyft partners with RAINN to provide access to transportation for survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence
While COVID-19 has impacted all of us, it’s had a disproportionate impact on certain vulnerable populations. For far too many people, this crisis has created new threats or intensified existing ones. This has been the situation for many survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence, who are being forced into close quarters with abusers as a result of shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. For survivors fleeing unsafe situations, transportation and expert support are critical resources.
That’s why today, Lyft and RAINN are announcing a new program to support survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence by connecting those in urgent need with transportation. The program seeks to provide critical resources that survivors often need to begin their relocation journey, free of charge. The program will begin with a pilot in select cities across the US. In these cities, individuals seeking crisis support who contact RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline may be connected to a free Lyft ride, depending on their needs, through their local sexual assault service provider.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened anxiety and may be exacerbating unsafe situations for many survivors of sexual violence, who have lost access to their networks of support and usual safe spaces,” said Keeli Sorensen, Vice President of Victim Services at RAINN. “This effort will better enable those in immediate crisis situations to access critical resources for their safety and healing.”
RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which offers free, confidential, 24/7 support to more than 300,000 survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones each year. RAINN and Lyft are long-term partners, and Ms. Sorensen sits on Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council.
This new partnership builds upon Lyft’s existing response efforts for victims of domestic violence during the COVID crisis. To date, Lyft has worked with more than 20 local partners across the U.S. to support individuals who are in desperate need of transportation. These partners include regional shelters and domestic violence support centers, local officials like the City of Chicago Department of Human Trafficking and the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Lyft has also extended our existing domestic violence support grants, given through the National Sheriffs Association to support county sheriff offices and their local affiliates across the country.
“We tremendously value our partners like RAINN who work with the most vulnerable communities,” said Heather Foster, Senior Director of Public Engagement & Strategic Partnerships at Lyft. “This new partnership allows us to address the unique transportation needs that victims of intimate partner and sexual violence may have during this time. We are hopeful about this partnership’s potential to address a serious need during the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, please contact RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or online.rainn.org.