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University of Iowa News Release

July 19, 2006

RVAP Schedules Volunteer Training

The Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) will begin its 32-hour Advocate Training program Sept. 11 to prepare area volunteers to provide support and assistance to victims and survivors of sexual assault.

During the training program, volunteers are taught all aspects of sexual assault counseling including: sociological and cultural factors of a "rape culture," victim impact (physical, psychological, spiritual), helping significant others, offender typology (grooming behaviors and abusive relationships), Rape Trauma Syndrome, childhood sexual abuse, suicide, medical and forensic exams, legal advocacy, and cultural competency. 

Throughout training emphasis is placed on boundaries, ethical issues and the importance of self-care. Advocates are taught aspects of both the active listening model and the Developmental Helping Model of counseling. All volunteers practice these listening and counseling skills in a variety of role-play scenarios designed to replicate typical calls received on RVAP's 24-hour crisis lines or in-person calls for medical/legal advocacy.

After successfully completing training, Advocates provide support, information and referrals on the local Rape Crisis Line and the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline, as well as respond to calls for supporting a survivor at the hospital or law enforcement. Advocates work from home, and take shifts that are easy to fit into their busy schedules.

"I've never worked with a group quite like this one," one person, a volunteer since June 2005, said. "The RVAP staff members are organized, thoughtful and genuinely care about the people they help as well as the volunteers. The support and enthusiasm is addictive and refreshing. I really do mean that."

Those interested in applying for the RVAP Volunteer Program may contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer-coordinator-rvap@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6001.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media:  Steve Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu; Program: Tara Wood, Volunteer Coordinator, 319-335-6001, volunteer-coordinator-rvap@uiowa.edu