Volunteer Training Q & A

What volunteer opportunities are available if I join the
Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention (SACI) Team?

SACI volunteers enrich the community by providing crucial crisis intervention services, and they also gain valuable, practical skills to benefit their professional and personal lives. There are many great opportunities for SACI volunteers:

  • 24-Hour Crisis Line: Volunteers operate a 24-hour, confidential crisis line. SACI volunteers provide crisis intervention, support, and resources to individuals calling the 24-hour crisis line.
  • Medical Advocacy: When someone is raped and chooses to go to the hospital to seek medical help SACI volunteers along with our community partner, The Listening Ear, respond to Sparrow Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program as medical advocates. Advocates stay with victims throughout a forensic medical exam, provide crisis intervention and support to the victim and their friend and family. SACI volunteers provide information on area resources, offer follow-up support, explain the medical & legal systems, and ensure that they are as comfortable as possible throughout the entire process.
  • Peer Education & Outreach: SACI volunteers strongly believe in rape prevention through peer education. Volunteers staff resource tables and fairs throughout campus, provide education through workshops and outreach events, and foster collaborations with other organizations in the community. Every Five Minutes (e5m) is a theater troupe that performs skits across campus to raise awareness about sexual violence.
  • Take Back the Night is one of our main outreach activities and takes place every April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. SACI works with other campus & community organizations to raise awareness about sexual violence. Plus, we skydive! Operation Free Fall takes place every April to raise money for local programs and spread awareness of this crime. Whether you want to jump out of a plane or help someone else jump out of a plane, Operation Free Fall is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.
  • Office Support: The Sexual Assault Program always needs people to help with everyday office support – filing, posting flyers, entering data, etc.

SACI volunteers also enjoy just hanging out and having fun! SACI is a wonderful and supportive community, and we’d love for you to join us!

I am a man. Can I still be an advocate?

Men are definitely encouraged to join SACI. First, sexual violence is a pervasive social problem that effects everyone in the community – not just women. To respond adequately, we need everyone to work together. Second, many female survivors find comfort in working with a supportive man and male victims report feeling less isolated when working with other men.

I am a survivor. Can I still be an advocate?

Many volunteers in this field are survivors. After overcoming their own trauma, many people want to “give back” and help others. There are usually several people who identify themselves as a survivor in each training program. Those who have been recently assaulted may find the training program re-traumatizing and are encouraged to apply later in their recovery process. If you have received services form our program we ask that one year has elapsed before applying to volunteer with our program. Any concerns should be addressed before training begins with the Advocacy Coordinator.

How do I apply?

What will I do during training and why is it so long?

Whether providing crisis intervention or educating the community about sexual violence, the sensitive nature of our work necessitates that our advocates are knowledgeable, competent and dependable. At the end of the training, volunteers will know about the following topics:

  • sexual violence dynamics
  • characteristics of sexual assault perpetrators
  • vulnerable populations & cultural considerations
  • domestic violence
  • community resources
  • law enforcement
  • medical treatment
  • supportive communication

Material is learned through lecture, discussion, reading, exercises, films, and role plays.  The topics discussed during training are often difficult and painful to process, so a lot of work is done to make sure that training is a safe and secure environment.

What is required of volunteers?

Volunteers are expected to:

  1. Complete volunteer application
  2. Complete the 40-hour Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention (SACI) Advocate Training
  3. Complete the 5-hour medical Advocacy (MA) Training
  4. Attend SACI volunteer meetings and in case of conflict by appointment with the Advocacy Coordinator
  5. Sign up for two service shifts a month
  6. One year commitment
  7. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, we ask that one year has elapsed since receiving services from the MSU Sexual Assault Program before applying to volunteer with our program.

I have other questions that aren’t answered here. Where I can I find out more?

Bianca Stepanyan
Advocacy Coordinator for the Sexual Assault Program
Phone: (517) 353-1669
biancas@cc.msu.edu

The Sexual Assault Program Office
Phone: (517) 355-3551

Should you need to speak with a sexual violence advocate, please call our 24-hour hotline: (517) 372-6666.