UNION COUNTY, NJ - The volunteer members of the Union County Rape Crisis Center have provided advocacy and guidance to victims of sexual violence since 1984, and this spring there are openings for new volunteers.

“In the 32-year history of the Rape Crisis Center, our volunteers have provided thousands of people – male and female, young and old -- with the support they need to face a critical period in their lives,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “If you are looking for an opportunity to serve the Union County community, I encourage you to contact the Rape Crisis Center now.”

The Rape Crisis Center is a division of the Union County Department of Human Services. A core of professional staff coordinates and mentors the volunteer corps of trained Advocates.

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All Advocates undergo a training series that enables them to provide guidance over the phone through the Rape Crisis Center hotline. Advocates may also accompany victims to medical or legal procedures.

“Tragically, in many cases of sexual violence the victim has no family or friend to go with them for medical attention or to provide statements,” said Bergen. “In such cases our volunteers fill a critical gap with empathy and emotional support as well as reliable guidance. They can make all the difference to people who are rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of a trauma.”

Prospective volunteers must be over 18, hold a valid driver’s license, and have their own vehicle.

Before becoming eligible for the training course, volunteers must also contact the Rape Crisis Center at 908-233-7273 or email rcc@ucnj.org to schedule an in-person interview.

The next training course begins on Tuesday evening, April 5, and continues twice weekly for a total of 17 sessions, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., until May 31.

All sessions take place at the Rape Crisis Center offices in Westfield at the Colleen Fraser county services building, 300 North Avenue East.

To find out more about the volunteer experience, contact the Rape Crisis Center at 908-233-7273 or rcc@ucnj.org, or visit online at unioncountyrapecrisiscenter.blogspot.com.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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