Union County seeking residents to train as advocates for victims of sexual violence

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Board of County Commissioners announced it is seeking residents who want to volunteer with the Union County Rape Crisis Center. Volunteers at the Rape Crisis Center provide guidance and support for victims of sexual violence.

“We are seeking compassionate individuals in Union County who are willing to volunteer their time and support survivors of sexual violence through the Union County Rape Crisis Center,” said Commissioner Chairperson Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Our dedicated volunteers provide crucial guidance and empathy to those in need, offering vital support during a difficult time. Together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of survivors and foster a community that stands against sexual violence.”

The spring training dates will take place from Thursday, May 2, to Thursday, June 25, subject to change, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6 to 9 p.m. Bilingual volunteers are also welcomed and encouraged to register.

While no previous experience in counseling is required, all those interested must:

• be a Union County resident;

• be at least 18 years of age;

• have personal mode of transportation – own car;

• have a valid driver’s license;

• undergo a personal interview; and

• participate in a 40+ hour, state-mandated training program.

Once trained, Rape Crisis Center volunteers answer calls to the Rape Crisis Center hotline as certified confidential sexual violence advocates. They also provide medical or legal guidance in person by accompanying victims at hospitals, police departments, courtrooms and other locations related to the aftermath of sexual violence.

“Empowerment begins with compassion and commitment,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council. “In joining our cause, you become a vital force in helping survivors navigate the path to healing. Your dedication is not just a commitment, but a lifeline for those in need.”

Training sessions are at the Rape Crisis Center offices, located in the Colleen Fraser Building at the Union County complex, 300 North Ave. East, Westfield.

The Union County Rape Crisis Center is a program of the Union County Department of Human Services, Division of Individual & Family Support Services and has been serving Union County residents since 1984. All volunteers are trained, mentored and supported by professional Union County staff.

If interested and/or for more information, contact the Union County Rape Crisis Center at 908-233-7273 or via email [email protected] by Monday, April 22.