Existe Ayuda (Help Exists) Toolkit
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Answering Machine Scripts

Principal Author of This Section: Laura Zárate
Answering Machine Scripts for Rape Crisis Centers and State Sexual Assault Coalitions

Purpose: Provide non-Spanish speaking staff with a communication tool they may use to offer potential Spanish-speaking monolingual callers the necessary information to access help.

User Audience: State sexual assault coalitions; local rape crisis centers.

Participant Audience: Spanish-speaking or Limited English Proficient (LEP) primary or secondary survivors who may call for information and assistance.

Once a survivor of sexual violence has found a number to call for help and has taken the step to reach out and seek assistance, it is imperative that we offer a seamless connection to the information and services he or she needs. The Spanish answering machine scripts available here serve as general script guides for centers and coalitions interested in developing their outgoing message in Spanish. The scripts have been customized for—

  • Rape crisis centers that offer services in Spanish.
  • State sexual assault coalitions.

What centers and coalitions include, how they present it, which answering systems they use, and their preferences as far as language order and delivery will depend on each agency's level of bilingual staffing, volunteers, and existing services. The scripts provide options for phone line transfers to bilingual staff or prerecorded messages that help inform callers of available options.

Answering machine messages should be produced with clarity, usefulness of information, and delivery in mind. If possible, record the message using a person who speaks a generic broadcast-type Spanish or someone with the same dialect as the majority of the Spanish-speaking residents in the service area or state. In addition, consider using the Existe Ayuda glossaries to customize a message that lists all available services or resources once a specific button is pressed.

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810 Seventh Street NW., Eighth Floor, Washington, DC 20531
The Office for Victims of Crime is a component of the Office of Justice Programs,
U.S. Department of Justice.
Office of Justice ProgramsOffice for Victims of Crime. Justice For Victims Justice for All.