The North Essex Chamber of Commerce has named SAVE of Essex County as an Outstanding Non-Profit or Charitable Organization. The award was given at the Chamber’s 2017 Leadership Recognition Banquet at the Manor in West Orange on June 8.

The Montclair-based SAVE of Essex County, a program of Family Service League, is dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence through a variety of services. It operates a confidential, 24-hour hotline for victims and their families and loved ones, as well as for health care and law enforcement professionals

SAVE staff members and volunteer advocates accompany victims of sexual violence to hospital emergency departments, police stations and courts and offers information, referrals and guidance to victims about their rights and responsibilities. This includes Information about medical and legal procedures like forensic exams and the use of rape kits, and issues of compensation, privacy, and safety. All victims are also provided with a “rape care package” consisting of clothing, toiletries, water, and snacks to replace what the police take as evidence and to help them restore their dignity after an assault has occurred. SAVE’s specially trained therapists offer counseling for victims.  

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SAVE also offers training for hospital staff, EMS, police and court officials on responding to victims of sexual violence. The organization promotes awareness about sexual violence through outreach and prevention education at middle and high schools and universities, and through health fairs and community-based organizations.

All this is provided at no cost to the community. SAVE gets is funded largely by the state. Each county receives similar funding, though the number of cases in Essex County is always among the highest in New Jersey. In 2016, SAVE received 3,122 total calls to its hotline and accompanied 164 victims to hospital emergency departments, precincts, and courts. Eighty-nine sexual violence survivors and their significant others received a total of 1,157 counseling sessions.

“We are honored to be have been recognized by the North Essex Chamber of Commerce for the comprehensive services that we provide to survivors of sexual violence. As the county’s only sexual violence center, we rely on the support from the community to help us keep our vital work going.” said Christine Ferro-Saxon, executive director.

To learn more about ways to contribute, please visit www.familyserviceleague.org or e-mail info@familyserviceleague.org.