From our volunteers:

“Volunteering is the act of showing up and being the calming voice at the other end of the line; You are someone who is truly present and there to listen, who offers hope and support, and has the privilege of being a part of another’s healing. It profoundly changes your own experience within the world, as well as others.” -J.M.

“Especially in these turbulent, violent times, it feels good to connect to someone in a positive, real way, and to feel like you may have helped someone with their healing.” -A.R.

“Being able to show up for survivors and hold space for their trauma is amazing and extremely healing.” – L.R. 

What do volunteers do for BAWAR?
Volunteers work with BAWAR in various capacities, depending on their interests, availability, and skills. Volunteers who become California State Certified Sexual Assault Counselors help staff our 24-hour sexual assault crisis line, which is available to all survivors of sexual assault and their significant others. Our counselors also provide accompaniment to rape survivors for hospital and police proceedings. While other volunteers have helped us with many things including office support, fundraising, computer assistance, and other special projects.

Who Can Apply to Be a Sexual Assault Counselor?
It is not necessary for you to have prior counseling experience or any particular licenses or degrees. Thorough preparation is provided during the training. Our current volunteer pool includes people from all walks of life and personal backgrounds, who share a deep commitment to supporting survivors and working to end sexual violence. We accept people of all genders in the counselor training, however we do require you to be over 18 to volunteer.

What’s the Training Like?
This 11-week training course is held from 6:00pm – 9:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Our next training will be a condensed training over 8 weeks.  This training will be in Oakland from June 12 – July 19 2018 and will include four (4) Saturdays from 10am-5pm in addition to Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Training covers a wide variety of issues, including: myths and realities of sexual violence, Rape Trauma Syndrome, counseling and listening skills, child sexual abuse and incest, working with various systems, cultural and racial issues, queer, transgender and questioning survivors, cis male survivors, intimate partner violence, suicide intervention, ritual abuse, hospital accompaniment procedures, and role plays. Graduates of the BAWAR training receive a California State Certification in Sexual Assault Counseling.

The only cost for this training is a sliding scale $50-$100 non-refundable fee for materials (payment plans are available). Participants who complete the training successfully will meet the hourly requirement to become State Certified Rape Crisis Counselors. You must be able to attend all sessions.

2018 Training Dates:

Spring – February 6 – April 19 (Fremont) Application deadline: January 19th

Summer – June 12 – August 2nd (Oakland) Application deadline: May 18th

–Summer 2018 Condensed Training: Tuesdays and Thursdays 6pm-9pm: 6/12-8/2 and Saturday

10am-5pm: 6/16, 6/30, 7/14 & 7/28 (every other Saturday, total of 4)

Fall – September 25 – December 13 (Oakland) Application deadline: September 14th

***Both Oakland and Fremont training locations are accessible via public transportation, ramps, elevators, and smoking/scent awareness.

What Happens After The Training?
In exchange for the free 72-hour training and certification, we require a commitment to volunteer for BAWAR for 36 hours of on-call time each month, for a period of 9 months or the equivalent of 324 hours. (your commitment begins the month after your successful completion of the training). This means that during those 36 on-call hours you will be available to take crisis line calls or meet a survivor at the hospital. You will have the flexibility to sign up for shifts that fit into your schedule.

I’m Interested, What Can I Do Next?
If you are interested in the BAWAR training please fill out our online Volunteer Application. Once your application is submitted, BAWAR will reach out to you before the start of the next training cycle.