N.L. sex assault centre looking for volunteers to keep up with demand for services

·2 min read
The NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre is looking for volunteers to keep up with the demand for its services.  (nlsacpc.com - image credit)
The NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre is looking for volunteers to keep up with the demand for its services. (nlsacpc.com - image credit)
nlsacpc.com
nlsacpc.com

The NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre is looking for help to meet needs one co-ordinator says have changed over the course of the pandemic.

The centre is recruiting volunteers to help bolster staff for its crisis line.

Mary Walsh, the crisis support co-ordinator, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show the centre has witnessed a 20 per cent increase in calls for help between March 2020 and April 2021 compared with the previous year.

"We did see dips when the lockdowns happened. We know that people weren't always safe making phone calls from home," Walsh said.

"So we know the demand changed up and down, but overall it was an increase in demand for services."

The centre offers supports to adults affected by sexual violence. Walsh said one of the most popular services is the support phone line, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Volunteers

The increase in demand comes from a couple of different places, Walsh said, one being society's better understanding of what consent means, and also its greater understanding of what sexual assault is.

She said volunteers are the heart and the essential piece to the organization for offering its services.

"They staff every single shift on our 24-hour crisis line. That is six shifts a day, 365 days a year," said Walsh.

She said all volunteers need to be at least 19 years old, and the only other prerequisite is the desire to help other people.

There's a 55-hour intensive training course designed so that anybody with any level of education can complete it with the ability to support people at the end, Walsh said.

"We ask for a year commitment just because the training is so intensive," said Walsh.

"We know not everybody is comfortable or able to reach out to us. We want everybody to know they are absolutely not alone. We are here for them and whatever happened to them is not their fault."

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