New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services needs volunteers for a variety of duties, but especially to act as survivor advocates.

Presently, the nonprofit that helps men, women and children who have suffered from sexual victimization has 18 active advocates in Daviess County and two in Ohio County. When it is their turn to work, those volunteers answer the 24/7 crisis line, provide crisis counseling and travel to police stations or hospital emergency departments after a sexual abuse has been reported.

Volunteer advocates are on call nights and weekends. They decide how many times they will work monthly and choose the dates that are convenient for them.

Crystal Wall, the nonprofit's volunteer coordinator, said volunteer advocates keep New Beginnings' staff from burning out.

Advocates do not come to the New Beginnings office to take their shift. Instead, they answer crisis line calls from home.

"You go to sleep and do everything like usual, but you leave the ringer on and you're prepared to get to the hospital within 30 minutes," Wall said.

Ideally, she would like to see 30 advocates in Daviess County. That would be one for each night of the month, which would keep volunteers from getting burned out, too.

"It's a lot to ask someone to do," Wall said of volunteer advocates. "I am always amazed at our wonderful volunteers, who give so much to the community and the survivors."

Advocates must be at least 20 years old. They must submit to a background check.

No experience is required. Wall trains volunteer advocates on a variety of topics, such as suicide prevention, medical and legal crisis skills, and child sexual abuse. She meets with volunteers five times for training before they sign up for duties.

Besides advocates, New Beginnings needs other volunteers. For example, the nonprofit needs people to create clothing packets that are given to survivors after a sexual assault. The survivor's clothes often are taken as forensic evidence, so the survivor needs a new outfit to leave the hospital.

New Beginnings needs people who are good with clerical duties, community education, fundraising and special events.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com.

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