A blog post introducing S+SS sexual violence resources and definitions
As of October 1st, 2021, Safe+Sound Somerset expanded our trauma-informed services to serve survivors of sexual violence in Somerset County, NJ. For over 40 years, Safe+Sound Somerset has provided a path to safety, hope, and healing for survivors of domestic violence, and now adults and children who have experienced sexual violence have access to the same high-quality services.
Sexual Violence is an act of power and control that involves unwanted or non-consensual behavior that is sexual in nature. It may target someone’s gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. It can include, but is not limited to, sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, stalking, groping, indecent exposure, or unwanted exposure to sexual content.
Sexual violence is not about sex, attraction, love or jealousy; it is about someone purposefully using power and control to take away someone’s ability to make decisions, set boundaries and give or take away consent; it is never the survivor’s fault.
S+SS helps adults and children who have experienced sexual violence take back their own power as they find healing. Our 24/7 call and text helpline is the entry point for survivors in need of support, information, safety planning, or additional services. The helpline is confidential, and the trained advocates who answer the call are ready to meet the survivor wherever they are on their journey to healing. The advocate will support the survivor in identifying the next steps that are right for them. Our services are provided at no cost, regardless of a survivor’s income level or immigration status. We welcome survivors of all gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture, religion, and immigration status.
One of our new programs is the Sexual Assault Response Team, or SART. SART is a multidisciplinary team that provides a coordinated response to the needs and wishes of survivors of sexual violence in times of crisis. Members include Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates (CSVAs), law enforcement officers, forensic nurse examiners (SANEs), Victim Witness Advocates, and prosecutors. Survivors may choose to engage with one, some, or all team members. Survivors also have the right to not engage with any of these team members.
A person contacting the helpline, may speak to one our specially trained Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates (CSVAs). While it takes tremendous strength and courage to reach out to other for help at such a difficult and traumatic time, the CSVA can be an important resource providing support, information about victims’ rights under the law, and referrals to other community services.
Survivors of sexual assault also have access to S+SS’s exceptional counseling services. Individual and group counseling is available to help adult and child survivors heal from their experiences with sexual violence. Our counselors are trained and certified in several evidence-based, trauma-responsive treatment therapies. Our counseling services, in addition to the 24/7 call and text helpline, are also available for the survivor’s family members, friends, and others who may find that they are also in need of support following the disclosure of sexual violence against their loved one.
Survivors of sexual violence can also choose to work with a Legal Advocate, who provide support and information about obtaining a Final Restraining Order or a protective order. Legal Advocates also connect survivors out outside resources as needed.
It is imperative that people who experience sexual violence in Somerset County are aware of the services that are available and how to access them. Please support survivors by sharing this information in your community. Safe+Sound Somerset staff members can also provide trainings and information sessions in group settings. To request more information about a possible speaking engagement, click here.
If you or someone you know needs of help, call or text our 24/7 confidential helpline at 866.685.1122. Additional information is available online at www.safe-sound.org