We usually offer the 40-hour Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault training two times a year. This training is offered to anyone who wants to volunteer at SAFE. We do run background checks and an interview process on all our volunteers. Trainees should be aware that SAFE covers a region that includes Bond, Clay, Clinton, Effingham, Fayette, Hamilton, Jefferson, Marion, Washington, Wayne, and White counties. Volunteers that complete the training will receive a certificate and should be willing to provide direct services to survivors of sexual violence at least one shift per month for at least one year. Shifts are available for either weekday or weekend hours.
People taking the training should expect to attend the training in all four of our offices. Those offices are in Centralia, Effingham, Mt. Vernon, and Vandalia. Carpooling is encouraged. People that cannot attend a minimum of 85% of the sessions may be able to make up those sessions at a future date but will not receive certification until they have completed all requirements.
Successfully completing the 40- hour training is the first step to volunteering with SAFE. After completion of the training each trainee is assessed to evaluate if they are ready to volunteer with our organization. Those taking the training need to keep in mind that people using our services deserve the best that we are able to give to them.
Sometimes it may be determined that a person has successfully completed our training but they are not ready to volunteer. A volunteer that has been assessed to be unable to volunteer may be able to help in other ways. That assessment is not necessarily a permanent condition (even though it may be). Since a large percentage of women have been sexually abused they may have their own emotional issues that have not been resolved completely. This may cause a volunteer to be re-traumatized by talking to others with similar situations. It also may cause a survivor to strongly believe they know what is best for a victim.
Our services are victim-centered and we are not here to make decisions for victims. We have to be confident that someone reaching to us for help is getting victim-oriented help. If it is determined that a trainee is not ready to provide direct services, that in no way reflects negatively on the trainee. Being willing to help by volunteering is a heroic aspiration. Those taking the steps they need to (by taking the training) are to be commended.