Click here to apply for an upcoming Certification Training. 

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 Crisis and Resource Hotline, which is available to all survivors and their loved ones, in Spanish and English. Advocates also provide bedside advocacy at Highland and Washington Hospital and accompany survivors at local police departments. Additional volunteer opportunities include: office support, fundraising, technical assistance, and community outreach.

Do I need to be a Certified Sexual Violence Counselor to Volunteer? 

We require that anyone who would like to become a volunteer counselor or bedside advocate be certified. Our admin and outreach volunteers may or may not be certified. BAWAR runs multiple certification and volunteer trainings throughout the year. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who Can Apply to Be a Volunteer Counselor?

You do not need 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 volunteer training. All participants must be 18 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  receiving services at BAWAR, you are eligible to volunteer on our education and outreach team and apply for Sexual Assault Counselor Certification training once you have been out of services for 12 months.

What’s the Certification Training Like?

We train for nine (9) weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 pm-9 pm 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. Graduates of the BAWAR training receive a Certificate of Completion for the California Sexual Assault Counselor Training.

What happens after the certification training? 

Graduates with qualities and skills that align with BAWAR’s mission, vision, and values will be invited to our 2-week volunteer training. Earning your training certificate is not a guarantee of a volunteer position and many working professionals and community partners take the training for professional development. 

Are there any other requirements to volunteer with BAWAR?

We require a commitment of 16-24 hours each month including one weekend shift a month, for 9 months for all volunteer counselors and bedside advocates. Your commitment begins the first day of the month after your volunteer training is completed. Our 24/7 services allow for the flexibility to sign up for shifts that fit into your schedule.

For our Volunteer Counselors answering the phone we ask that you have the following: 

  • A quiet space where you can be alone to take confidential calls 
  • A cell phone
  • Internet access 
  • An email address for BAWAR related communications

For our Volunteer Advocates responding in person, we ask that you: 

  • Have a cell phone
  • Have internet access
  • Be located in Alameda County
  • Have access to transportation (car, rideshare) to be able to arrive on location within 30-60 minutes of receiving a call (dependant on location) 
  • Agree to wear all provided and required PPE by BAWAR and external parties. 
  • Obtain and provide proof of COVID Vaccination(s) only when required by external parties to provide direct service to BAWAR participants and their families. 

For admin/projects-based volunteers requirements will vary based on agency needs and there are no current hours requirements.  

I’m Interested, What Can I Do Next?

If you are interested in the BAWAR training, please fill out our Certification Training 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 before the start of training.

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

What if I have more questions? 

Email us at

24-Hour Hotline in English and Spanish
Línea directa las 24 horas en inglés y español
(510) 800-4247

Bay Area Women Against Rape
411 30th St Suite 412
Oakland, CA 94609

Office Hours: M-F, 9am – 5pm PST

Office: (510) 430-1298