24/7 Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 618-397-0975

Sexual Assault Victims Care Unit

Volunteer FAQ

What is the volunteer Commitment?

We ask that all crisis volunteers commit to picking up a minimum of 1 shift per month for an entire years.  Each shift runs from 5:00 pm-8:30 am.  Volunteers will choose when they want to be on the schedule. 

Is it necessary to complete a background check in order to volunteer?

Yes.  You will be asked to complete a background check with the Department of Children and Family Services.  The results may implicate one's ability to volunteer with us. 

Are there volunteer opportunities available for male-identified individuals?

Yes.  Male individuals are welcome to participate in our medical advocacy program.  

I have completed an application. Now what?

We review all applications.  Approved applications will receive an e-mail or phone call to schedule and interview and invite them to an orientation session where we will share more information about the program and answer questions.  

At the end of training, will I be a certified rape crisis counselor?

At the conclusion of the training you will receive a certificate that states you have "completed 40-hours of sexual assault crisis intervention training in accordance with Illinois law and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault service standards."  While providing services on behalf of Call for Help you have earned the title of "Volunteer Medical Advocate and Rape Crisis Counselor."  It is important to note that volunteers will not receive their training certificates until they have completed two months of on-call shifts.

What is the cost of training?

For those who are interested in volunteering with Call for Help, a materials fee of $30 will be collected prior to training.   For those taking the training for professional training purposes, the cost of the training is $250.

What if I cannot make all the training dates?

We can accommodate 1 missed session ONLY.  You will have to make-up those sessions by scheduling an independent make-up session with the trainer for that session.  We cannot guarantee that the trainer will be able to accommodate your schedule or that the make-up session will be offered outside of the regular business day.  If attendance will be a problem, we recommend you consider attending another training session.   

Can I bring food to the training?

Yes.  Please feel free to bring food.  We will have breaks through the training.  We will also provide light snacks and drinks too.  If you have specific dietary restrictions, please be mindful that we will not be able to accommodate your needs. 

What should I wear to the training?

Because the training sessions are long, please feel free to dress comfortably. Business attire is not necessary.  Depending on the season, it can be cold or hot in the training room.  Layers tend to work best. 

Can I choose which calls I respond to?

No.  When signing up for a shift, our volunteer advocates can respond to any of our service hospitals in Madison, Monroe, St. Clair, and Randolph counties.  This means that all volunteers must be willing and prepared to respond to any call regardless of location, age, or gender of the survivor. 

What hospitals will I be expected to respond too?

You are expected to be able to respond to all of the hospitals that we currently partner with.  We serve Madison, Monroe, St. Clair and Randolph counties. 

How long is each on-call shift?

Currently our shifts run from 5:00pm -8:30am.  Volunteers may choose what day they sign-up for.  You will not be assigned to shifts.  Volunteers are expected to be available for dispatch throughout the entire duration of their shift.  Occasionally this may mean that an advocate will be on a hospital call beyond the shift times.  Volunteers are asked to plan accordingly for this.  

How many calls will I respond to during a shift?

It is hard to predict how many hospital calls you might be asked to respond to during an on-call shift.  Some volunteers have taken shifts were they weren't dispatched at all, while other have taken 2-3 calls during a shift.  We don't have any way of predicting how many calls will come in. 

Will I be responding to calls alone?

Yes.  We do not use a shadowing system (with the exception of your first call, a more experienced advocate will accompany you).  Our volunteers undergo extensive training to prepare them to respond to survivors in the ER.  Once an advocate has completed our training which includes several hours of roleplays with experts, they will be able to respond confidently.  However, while on call, each advocate will have ongoing access to a shift supervisor who is available to answer questions, help them navigate tricky situations, and also offer emotional support for the volunteer. 

What other volunteer opportunities are available?

We welcome volunteers in our administrative or development department in fundraising efforts.  These opportunities do not require 40 hours training.  If you are interested in those opportunities, please email info@callforhelpinc.org.