Wear Blue for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day!

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act and effects millions of men, women, and children worldwide.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is recognized each year on January 11th. In an effort to raise awareness, the Department of Homeland Security created the Blue Campaign which hosts events and educational activities, with the biggest being #WearBlueDay. On this day, they ask individuals to take photos of themselves, friends, family, and/or co-workers wearing blue and share them on social media with the hashtag #WearBlueDay.

To learn more about the fight against human trafficking and how you can help, please visit our Human Trafficking Resources page.

Victim's Assistance and Survivor Protection Act (V.A.S.P.A.)

V.A.S.P.A. formerly known as the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (or S.A.S.P.A.), has had an important amendment go into effect this month!

S.A.S.P.A. was passed into law in November 2015 and was enacted in May 2016. Its purpose was to expand opportunities for survivors of sexual violence who had no type of domestic relationship with their assailant, to apply for a protective order against their perpetrator, without reporting to law enforcement or filing criminal charges. The amendment will expand the scope of this act to apply the same procedures for obtaining protective orders for victims of stalking or cyber-harassment, whether or not there were any nonconsensual sexual encounter between the actor and victim. Since this expansion now covers interactions not of a sexual nature, they decided to rename this bill to the “Victim’s Assistance and Survivor Protection Act” (V.A.S.P.A.).

The application for the initial, temporary protection order can be filed in the Superior Court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged conduct occurred, where the alleged actor resides, or where the alleged victim resides or is sheltered. The temporary protective order would:

  • Limit the contact of the alleged actor with the victim
  • Prohibit the respondent from committing or attempting to commit any future act of stalking or cyber-harassment
  • Prohibit the respondent from having any contact with the alleged victim or others, including an order forbidding the respondent from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact, or contact via electronic device.
  • Prohibit the respondent from entering the residence, property, school or place of employment of the alleged victim or the alleged victim’s family or household members, and requiring the respondent to stay away form any specified place that is named in the order.
  • Prohibit the respondent from following, harassing and threatening to harm, stalk, follow, or harass the victim
The relief provided for in the final protective order could be the same or more expansive as that available through the temporary protective orders.

To learn more about V.A.S.P.A. or to have an advocate accompany you through the process, contact us at 908.233.7273. For additional information, please visit the links below:

Office of the Governor | Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Expanding Access to Temporary Protective Orders (nj.gov)

What is it like being a CSVA?

Here is some feedback from our current team!

"I am a supportive and caring person by nature. I can empathize with the trauma and overwhelming experience a survivor of sexual assault is dealing with. The training provided by the Union County Rape Crisis Center prepared me for the reality of serving survivors by way of role plays for hotline calls and in-person accompaniments. I encourage others to sign-up to become a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate (CSVA) because our presence and advocacy can help them through a traumatic experience."

CSVA Bridgette

"My personal experience inspired me to become a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate. Participating in the training with the Union County Rape Crisis Center prepared the team for the various scenarios we could expect to encounter on a hotline call or in-person accompaniment. Advocating for survivors is important because they often feel they don't have a voice. In those moments, we stand beside them educating, empowering, and supporting them. I would encourage anyone with compassion to sign up! Knowing you get to be a part of an individual's healing journey is truly a blessing."

CSVA Taisha

"If you have a true passion for helping others in their time of need, this could be a role for you. As a CSVA, my empathy and compassion help in providing support and comfort to those who contact the Union County Rape Crisis Center for services. Being able to provide them the tools to further empower themselves is all due to the training and mentoring we receive and rely heavily on. We welcome anyone interested in committing to serving in our communities and hope to continue the UCRCC's mission."

CSVA Bianca 

"I started as a volunteer at the Rape Crisis Center. I found an ad in the newspaper that the center was seeking volunteers. I thought that this could be a way for me to give back and help others since I have had my own personal experiences and received no help. When I called it was too late, they had already begun training. I found it again the following year and decided that I would call right away to make sure that I wouldn’t miss the classes. Here we are 17 years later...I find comfort in knowing that I am able to help people during their time of need."

CSVA Stacy

"Being a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate (CSVA) I know is not for everyone, but it is honestly one of the most rewarding experiences. As someone who has their own personal history, it makes me incredibly happy to be a part of a team of people that have so much empathy and compassion, and have a genuine want to help people during the worst day(s) of their life. The training that we receive from the UCRCC is incredibly valuable, not only because we get to experience what we could encounter during a hotline call or in-person accompaniments, but skills that we can use during everyday life. If you are someone that is drawn to people, drawn to helping, and have a huge amount of compassion and empathy, being a CSVA is something to definitely look into."

CSVA Ariana