Click here to apply to our volunteer training program

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 support persons, in Spanish and English. Our counselors also provide accompaniment services to Highland Hospital, Washington Hospital and local police departments. Additional volunteer opportunities include: office support, fundraising, technical assistance, and community outreach.

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 volunteer community 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 welcome people of all genders in the counselor training. All trainees must be 21 years old before the first day of training. We welcome survivors of sexual violence in our volunteer program, and ask that applicants are in a place to take care of themselves while they support others. If you have been or are currently a client with BAWAR, you are eligible to volunteer as an admin and apply for Crisis Counselor Certification training once you have been out of services for 12 months.

What’s the Training Like?
We train for eleven (11) weeks on either Tuesday and Thursday evenings or Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6pm-9pm. via Zoom. Training covers a wide variety of topics, including: myths and realities of sexual violence, oppression, trauma and trauma response, counseling skills, advocacy, intersections of gender/race/class/orientation/ability/documentation, hospital accompaniment procedures, and role plays. Successful graduates of the BAWAR training receive a California State Certification in Sexual Assault Counseling (you must be able to attend all sessions to be certified).

The only training cost is a one-time, non-refundable materials fee of $25. Participants who complete the training successfully may be offered a volunteer counselor position on the English or Spanish crisis line, on-site Crisis Navigation team and/or SART team. Earning your certification is not a guarantee that you will be invited to volunteer, although that is the goal.

Each training cohort includes a limited number of spots for participants who do not plan to volunteer with BAWAR and are seeking certification for their own professional development. The fee to join on the Professional Development track is $350, payable to BAWAR by the Friday before training begins. 

What Happens After The Training?
In exchange for the 66-hour training and certification, we require a commitment to volunteer with BAWAR for 24-36 hours each month, for a period of 9 months. Hours may consist of on call crisis line shifts, supporting survivors at the Family Justice Center or co-facilitating other area of BAWAR’s survivor-focused programming. Your commitment begins the first day of the month after successful completion of the training. Our 24/7 services allow for the flexibility to sign up for shifts that fit into your schedule.

***We are in need of dedicated and flexible volunteers located in Alameda County with access to reliable transportation, and availability on nights/ overnights and weekends for in-person accompaniment and walk-in services.

I’m Interested, What Can I Do Next?
If you are interested in the BAWAR training, please fill out our Volunteer Application online in English or Spanish. Once your application is submitted, BAWAR will review it and reach out to eligible candidates to begin the screening process which happens 2-4 weeks prior to the start of training.

Submitting an application is not a guarantee to acceptance to the training program and applicants who are not selected will not be contacted.

24-Hour Hotline in English and Spanish
Línea directa las 24 horas en inglés y español
(510) 345-1056

Bay Area Women Against Rape
470 27th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Hours: M-F, 9am – 5pm PST (Excluding Federal Holidays)

Office: (510) 430-1298