According to RAINN, every 90 seconds another American is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault victims are three times more likely to experience depression and six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. 360 Communities Sexual Assault Services volunteer advocates play a vital a role in helping survivors cope with the aftermath of an assault with emotional support and resources.

About 15  advocates volunteer for 360 Communities, giving 8-12 hours of their time every month. Having volunteers on-call to respond to medical advocacies at two local hospitals helps survivors know they have people in their corner that believe and support them. At a medical exam, they partner with nurses and law enforcement to provide holistic
support. While nurses collect evidence and police investigate the assault, advocates provide emotional support and resources. Often their presence can boost the confidence a victim feels in navigating the challenges ahead of them.

Volunteer Advocate John Thompson says that providing resources and giving choices to survivors can help them regain some control. He also stressed that believing survivors is crucial. “Just being someone there that cares enough to listen to their story in a safe environment is a large part of it.”

Volunteers interested in sexual assault services advocacy work need to complete a state-mandated 40-hour training. The training teaches attendees what sexual violence is, what perpetuates sexual violence, and the different advocacy services and resources available for victims. 360 Communities offers this training twice annually. The next training begins September 16th.

The cost is $125, reimbursable with a commitment to volunteer for 360 Communities as an advocate. You can register here or contact Jess Teresi at 651.244.9826 or for more information.