Uber Pledges $5 Million To Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Prevention

By Sara Ashley O’Brien

ATLANTA (CNN) — Following its sexual harassment scandal, Uber is pledging $5 million toward sexual assault and domestic violence prevention.

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The ridesharing company announced the effort on Monday on the heels of sexual harassment and assault reports hitting Hollywood, media and the tech industry.

The funds, which will be distributed over the course of five years, will go to various groups, including Raliance, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and NO MORE. In 2016, the National Football League donated $10 million to Raliance amid domestic abuse scandals impacting its industry.

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The organizations have been in talks with Uber since June, the company said.

Uber’s team of 150 customer service agents have taken new trainings for handling calls related to harassment issues.

Tracey Breeden, head of global safety communications at Uber, told CNN Tech the ability to respond with empathy to calls from drivers or riders that pertain to issues as sensitive as sexual violence is “critically important.” Uber has also created a new specialized team to handle “more severe” incidents reported by drivers or riders.

Meanwhile, Uber’s executive leadership team participated in trainings last week facilitated by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Breeden said.

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Raliance spokeswoman Kristen Houser said it’s a rare move for big firms to recognize sexual violence prevention.

“[Uber is] no different than the NFL or any other company that has a wakeup or realization about how seriously things can impact people’s lives and your business,” said Houser.

Houser said she hopes the latest efforts will bring more attention to the organization: “We certainly need the help of Corporate America.”

In June, Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick resigned following an investigation of sexual harassment at the workplace. In August, Uber tapped Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO.

Now, the company continues its attempt at a turnaround story.

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Riders and drivers will also receive an in-app push notification on Monday informing them of resources available to help with sexual assault and domestic violence.

“We hope that people judge us on the changes that we’ve made to build a better Uber,” added Breeden.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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