Support volunteers needed for sexual assault treatment unit

Galway Rape Crisis Centre is seeking psychological support staff to work in the sexual assault treatment unit (SATU ) in the city. The facility, one of the few in the country, opened in 2009 following a 20 year campaign by the GRCC.

This unit offers co-ordinated multidisciplinary services which are provided by the Gardai, health professionals and GRCC to people in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault or rape. GRCC provide vital psychological support to the SATU unit’s clients.

The female volunteers being sought will receive comprehensive training over six weekends and two evenings from the GRCC. They are on call for three shifts a month and respond to call-outs as appropriate. The closing date for receipt of applications is Monday, September 19 at 10 am.

They will be part of a team of volunteers who receive "excellent support and supervision" ensuring best practice standards, according to the organisation which has been supporting survivors of sexual abuse and rape since 1984.

It outlines that research has shown the "tremendous" difference that emotional support makes to survivors in the immediate aftermath of trauma.

Bernadette Daly, the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit services' manager with the GRCC, says the volunteers are being recruited as part of a annual drive.

"These psychological support workers are advocates for persons within the unit, someone who is there for them alone. We provide specialised training for them involving a 70 hours training programme."

Volunteers can be of all ages, according to Ms Daly. "There is no age restriction, what we are seeking is people with some maturity."

These volunteer support workers provide much needed emotional and psychological support to people in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault/rape.

The positions are not counselling roles - the volunteers will provide crucial psychological support preventing or limiting dissociation and re-traumatisation.

GRCC offers a range of services to its clients that include short and long term counselling, court accompaniment, group sessions, and advocacy services.

Its services to the wider community include an education and prevention programme in secondary schools and third level colleges as well as disclosure trainings for anyone who, in a professional or volunteering capacity, is likely to receive disclosures of sexual violence or abuse.

If you are interested in making a difference in your community and would like further information on becoming a sexual assault treatment unit support worker log on to www.galwayrcc.org/satu for a comprehensive information pack and application form.

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