CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, (908) 527-4419


Training session scheduled for new volunteer advocates

Elizabeth—The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders urged residents to help victims of sexual assault, by volunteering at the Union County Rape Crisis Center. A training session for new volunteers will be conducted from March 4 to April 29.

“Last year, volunteers at the Rape Crisis Center provided intervention and support services to over 200 victims of sexual assault,” said Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “Our volunteers make a real difference in helping our fellow County residents cope with the effects of this devastating crime.”

Prospective volunteers must be residents of Union County who are at least 18 years old and have their own means of transportation. Volunteers are requested to make a one-year commitment. Before assuming their responsibilities, they receive comprehensive training in a wide range of issues relating to sexual assault.

The next training course for new volunteers will be conducted at the Rape Crisis Center at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., starting on March 4 and finishing on April 29.

The Rape Crisis Center offers confidential counseling for victims of sexual assault including incest, as well as counseling for victims’ families and significant others. Volunteers from the Rape Crisis Center are trained to advocate on behalf of rape victims and accompany them to hospital emergency rooms, police interviews, and court proceedings.

Volunteers also staff the 24-hour Rape Crisis hotline, 908-233-7273.

The Rape Crisis Center is part of the Union County Department of Human Services and has been serving Union County residents since 1984.

“Our volunteers provide a knowledgeable and steady hand through this difficult time,” said Chairman Estrada. “It’s an invaluable service for victims and their families.”

The training program includes instruction in sexual trauma, domestic violence, sexual harassment, cultural issues related to sexual abuse, and date rape drugs. The training also covers legal and emotional issues that confront victims.

The 24-hour Rape Crisis Hotline, 908-233-7273, may be contacted for more information about volunteering and training.