Episode 106: "What services are there for survivors of sexual assault?"Support the show
On today’s episode, we’re answering a question from local teens about sexual assault services.
This is Jessica Skultety, Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey's lead domestic and sexual violence response organization, providing services at no charge to survivors for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: “Dear Ava, What services are there for survivors of sexual assault?
The good news is that – there are services all over the world, many free of charge, for those who experience sexual violence. Safe+Sound Somerset is one local organization. We serve survivors specifically in Somerset County, New Jersey with free and confidential services.
Navigating services for survivors of sexual assault can be really challenging. Because information about these services may not be accessible or distributed widely, it can feel overwhelming not knowing where to go or what services there really are. Survivors can find counseling support, crisis helplines, legal advocacy and support, medical support, referrals to other resources, and information. Today, we will be talking about some New Jersey statewide and national services.
In New Jersey, every county has a sexual assault organization that serves local survivors. Some of these organizations are dual, meaning they provide both domestic violence and sexual violence services for free. Similar to the national level, these agencies provide diverse services for the needs of each survivor. Th organizations typically have 24/7 helplines. To get connected to your local organization, you can contact the state’s hotline at 1-800-601-7200 or visit NJCASA’s website at njcasa.org. On their website, there is a “find help” tab at the top.
Safe+Sound Somerset is Somerset County’s dual domestic violence and sexual violence services organization. If you know someone, or you are experiencing domestic, relationship, or sexual violence, you call or text our 24/7 helpline. A trained advocate can provide you with information about our free services including counseling and legal advocacy. They can also safety plan with you and provide supportive listening.
We also have Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates and Sexual Assault Response Teams, who can provide you with more information about your rights and options, and help you explore community resources after a sexual assault. We will always support your choices, and we will work with you to find safety, hope, and healing. You can call or text our helpline at any point, no matter when the sexual assault occurred.
If you or someone you know lives outside the state of New Jersey and would like general information about national services, we’re going to talk about that now.
RAINN stands for Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. This is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN provides information, resources, a live chat feature, and their hotline. Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or check out the live chat feature on the website at rainn.org (R-A-I-N-N). This website also resources to support Spanish-speaking survivors, male survivors, LGBTQIA+ survivors, military survivors, sex trafficking survivors, and survivors who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
You can also visit the National Center for Victims of Crime’s website at victimsofcrime.org or contact their VictimConnect referral helpline. This confidential helpline provides all crime victims with information regarding their rights and options. Call or text 855-484-2846 or online chat with someone.
For children who are experiencing or have experienced sexual assault, you can contact ChildHelp – the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. For crisis intervention and services for children, you may also contact Darkness to Light’s helpline at 866-367-5444 or text LIGHT to 741741.
If you are a college student who is experiencing or has experienced sexual assault, you can visit knowyourix.org to learn about Title IX rights. You can also visit endrapeoncampus.org for support regarding Title IX.
If you are a survivor of incest, visit Survivors of Incest Anonymous at siawso.org. They also offer support and resources of survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
For more legal information, visit womenslaw.org. You can also call the Take Back the Night Foundation’s hotline at 646-585-0120.
So altogether, we’ve talked a lot about national services. Don’t forget that local services are available across the country and across the world! They can help connect you. You deserve to heal and to be safe.
To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.