Volunteers needed to support victims of sexual violence

By Anna Diaz-White

Sexual assaults do not just stop because of a crisis like the one we are currently facing. In fact, when stressors increase, violence and abuse can quickly escalate.

For many survivors, staying at home means being isolated with someone who is harming them. It is in these very trying times that a survivor needs 180 even more and we are determined to be there for anyone who needs our services.

We have made a few temporary shifts to some of our services, but 180 is operational and here to help.

Sexual violence is never the survivor’s fault and 180 Turning Lives Around stands with all survivors.

For 44 years, 180, a private nonprofit organization in Monmouth County, continues to provide support and advocacy for victims of sexual violence in the aftermath of a highly emotional and traumatic experience with the assistance of its dedicated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) volunteers.

180’s trained confidential victim advocates, with countywide law enforcement and the Forensic Nurse Examiners program, provide emotional support and assistance to victims, and their significant others, during accompaniments for timely and sensitive hospital medical examinations, and police and grand jury procedures.

180’s volunteers also provide telephone support, which includes at the time of crisis, addressing medical and emotional needs, information regarding the justice system, and referrals for services.

They also provide support and advocacy for the survivor’s significant other and adult survivors of childhood sexual assault.

We invite the community to join 180’s life-changing mission today. 180 is conducting the mandatory 40-hour SART training course for new volunteers on June 2-25, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 6-9:30 p.m. at Ocean Township Police Headquarters, 399 Monmouth Road, Ocean Township.

The training will be conducted via a virtual platform if self-distancing is still in place.

Basic requirements for volunteers to apply include that they must be 18 years of age or older, have access to reliable transportation, possess a valid driver’s license, be willing to serve on an on-call shift basis, participate in an interview process, and submit to fingerprinting and background checks.

180 is committed to a socially and culturally diverse team to best serve the community. Bilingual capability is helpful. Prior knowledge of or training in sexual violence is not required.

To obtain an application, contact Tina Morgan at tinam@180nj.org or 732 264-4360, ext. 4272, or visit https://180nj.org/give-help/volunteering/sexual-violence-program-advocate/

The deadline to apply is May 26.

180 is dedicated to providing safe housing, counseling, support, prevention, education and advocacy for those in Monmouth County who are affected by domestic violence and sexual violence.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence, please call 180’s 24/7 confidential hotline at 1-888-264-RAPE (7273). For more information, visit www.180nj.org. In an emergency, dial 911.

Anna Diaz-White is the executive director of 180 Turning Lives Around Inc.