RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS LINE VOLUNTEERS

Daily Point of Light # 2396 Apr 11, 2003

The Rape & Sexual Abuse Center’s mission is to help people heal from the effects of rape and sexual abuse and reduce risk through community education. The Center was founded in 1978 to fill a critical need for a Middle Tennessee crisis support line to address these particular issues. From that simple beginning, and those initial volunteers, grew a Center that provides counseling annually for over 800 victims, both children and adults, of sexual violence. A majority of our clients are low-income, but at RASAC, no one is turned away for the lack of ability to pay. A hospital accompaniment program for rape crisis victims and educational safety programs developed at the Center and reaching over 20,000 school children annually are also provided. 25 years later, RASAC is still finding new ways to assist and educate Middle Tennessee.

Trained volunteers now staff the Center’s 24-hour crisis support line more than two-thirds of the time. This provides a tremendous financial saving to the Center, in addition to the value of the support they provide to the callers, and these volunteers are still an integral part of the mission of RASAC. Currently, 123 volunteers are scheduled for 8-hour monthly shifts or more. They donate more than 4,800 hours a year answering the line. Although there are other crisis lines in Middle Tennessee, this is the only one that specializes in the issues of rape and sexual abuse for women, men, and children.

The Crisis Line Volunteers are required to complete 25 hours of training conducted by the agency’s Volunteer Coordinator. The volunteers continue to work closely with and are supported by staff. Though, they receive no salary or stipends, several of the volunteers have been giving their time to the Center for over 10 years. This group is racially diverse, both men and women, and from all walks of life–students, homemakers, and business professionals-who fit this incredibly significant commitment into their busy lives.

Callers to the line are victims of sexual violence. They often feel disconnected with nowhere to turn. They are usually too ashamed to talk to family or friends. Callers are all ages and from varying backgrounds. Through talking with one of the crisis line volunteers, sometimes several times, they often decide to seek further help. The volunteer may suggest that the caller contact the Intake Coordinator at the Center to become a client, or refer them to other appropriate sources. Sometimes they just listen.

The Crisis Line not only makes an impact on those who call in from the community, it also gives clients who are currently in counseling a venue for support between therapy sessions, and those who have completed therapy, a safety net to fall back on should they need it. Being a Crisis Line Volunteer provides one the privilege of having hands-on interaction with clients. The volunteer becomes a conduit to the necessary services for someone in need. Although there is no way to precisely measure the impact, they can confirm they received 2,232 calls last year and a substantial number of those callers entered therapy. Volunteers are able to work from home at any hour, and though it requires training; you do not have to be a therapist to serve. Although dealing with a difficult subject matter, this volunteer job is uplifting because it touches those who are in need.

Stay Connected

Sign up for email updates and the latest news from Points of Light!