June 20, 2007

CONTACT: Mary Lynn Williams


Union County Rape Crisis Center Needs Volunteers

The Union County Rape Crisis Center, 300 North Avenue East, Westfield, needs volunteers to join its crisis response team.  Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, Union County residents, and have their own means of transportation.

“Volunteer advocates provided crisis intervention and support counseling for 282 victims in 2006 and answered 973 calls”, said Bette Jane Kowalski, Chairwoman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  “Our volunteers are very well trained and fully prepared to respond to victims over the phone on our 24-hour hotline, or in person as advocates who accompany victims to hospital emergency rooms, police interviews, and courts.”  There are currently 29 active rape crisis volunteers.

A 40-hour mandatory training program will begin September 25th and end November 15th, and will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays from
6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Rape Crisis Center. Topics include sexual trauma; domestic violence; sexual harassment; cultural issues related to sexual abuse; date rape drugs; and the legal and emotional issues that confront victims. Following training, volunteers are asked to commit to one year of service working three shifts per month.

The Union County Rape Crisis Center offers confidential individual and group counseling for victims of sexual assault (including incest), their families, and significant others.  In addition to acting as victim advocates, volunteers staff a 24-hour hotline, (908) 233-RAPE (7273).

The Rape Crisis Center is part of the Union County Department of Human Services and has been serving Union County residents since 1984.  The Center’s primary source of funding is the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division on Women.

For a personal interview or for further information call 908-233-7273 during business hours Monday through Friday. Callers may leave a voice message.