MISSION & PURPOSE

The Union County Rape Crisis Center (UCRCC) is a program that has operated under the Division of Planning in the Union County Department of Human Services since 1984.  The UCRCC's mission is to provide twenty-four hour hotline and crisis intervention services, advocacy, twenty-four hour accompaniment through forensic medical procedures and law enforcement interviews, support services, and related assistance to victims of sexual assault, family of such victims, and those collaterally affected by such victimization.  All services are available free of charge to those who reside in, were assaulted in or seek support services in Union County.  Furthermore, services are provided in a manner that preserves victim privacy and safeguards the victim's right to confidentiality pursuant to (N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-22.15).

LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS...

The Union County Rape Crisis Center is looking for dedicated individuals who are interested in helping survivors of sexual violence. Please note that our next training is slated to run from September 11th - October 30th on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

What are the requirements?
  • Resident of Union County
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Valid U.S. driver's license
  • Personal (own) means of transportation (i.e. a car)
  • Participation in an informal interview between 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday
  • Successful completion of Advocate training, which includes attendance at all sessions
  • Commitment to volunteer for a period of at least one year
  • Commitment to signing up for at least three hotline shifts per month
  • Regular attendance at monthly volunteer meetings (evening)

*If you meet these requirements and are interested in interviewing, kindly phone us at (908) 233-7273 or email rcc@ucnj.org.

Featured Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate

Featured Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate
Angelica D.

What inspired you to become a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate?
I have always been passionate about helping people and I knew it was something I was meant to do for a living. However, I was unsure which path I wanted to take. It wasn’t until I had someone close to me come out and tell me that they were a survivor of sexual assault. At that moment I did everything I could to be there for her, but was unsure of any resources out there. From then on I became interested in learning more on sexual assault and trauma, because I saw what my friend was
going through and I did not know how to help her. My best friend saw a post for a volunteer opportunity at the Union County Rape Crisis Center (UCRCC) and sent me all the information on it. As soon as I read about the training, I knew becoming a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate was something I wanted to do.

What was the training like in comparison to the reality of serving survivors?
Everything that is taught in training is essential to serving survivors. I learned so much during my time training, especially through role plays. The role plays help to strengthen your skills and help to prepare you for the reality of serving survivors. Now working for the Union County Rape Crisis Center, I have the opportunity to assist in training new volunteers and I have been fortunate enough to see the growth in these volunteers through training and see them use these skills in reality.

What unique qualities do you identify within yourself that assist you in serving survivors?
My ability to empathize, actively listen, and being able to have an open heart helps me in serving survivors and making sure I am advocating for them.

Why do you think advocacy for those affected by sexual violence is so important?
When someone is affected by sexual violence, a lot of the times they feel like they lost a sense of power and control. Survivors may also feel disempowered & hopeless. As an Advocate, we are there to help the survivor regain that power and control and help to re-empower them. There are so many choices and options survivors have, that they may not know about and that’s what so important about advocacy. We want to make sure a survivor is equipped with as much information as possible and that they know they have people in their corner letting them know they are not alone.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with people thinking about volunteering with the UCRCC?
Serving survivors has changed my life for the better. I never thought that I would grow as a person, as much as I did. You learn to empathize and be more open to different situations. You learn how powerful the act of listening truly is. I started off
as a volunteer and was given the amazing opportunity to work for the Rape Crisis Center and everyone here is truly a family. At times it may not be easy, but knowing you have people here you can talk to, makes everything better. It is truly a humbling experience.

Is there anything you’d specifically like to share with the people reading this?
Working with the Rape Crisis Center and volunteering with them has been such a rewarding experience. At times I felt as though I couldn’t do it, but I pushed forward and now I’m here 3 years later and I’m so happy I stuck it out. There is no better feeling then knowing you were there for someone who needed it and that you made a difference. So, if you are reading this and are thinking about volunteering, I strongly encourage you to give our center a call. We are more than willing to answer any questions you may have about our training.

EDUCATION

A major objective of the Union County Rape Crisis Center (UCRCC) is to target youth, throughout Union County, with primary prevention education. The Gender and Violence: How Media Shape our Culture curriculum is the method being used to achieve this goal.

This curriculum teaches students how to analyze and evaluate the way media shapes gender roles, impacts self-image, promotes or challenges social norms, and influences attitudes and behavior. Youth in turn develop critical thinking skills. These same skills can also aid them in effectively navigating the negative dimensions of popular culture including violence, gender stereotyping, and sexualized media content. It is believed that by becoming empowered and self-aware, youth will be more effective at resisting the constant stream of violent or hyper-sexualized messages in print, television, or online.

Although this program is currently geared toward youth, it can easily be adapted for other groups. If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact the Union County Rape Crisis Center at (908) 233-7273.