24 Hour Helpline
What to Expect When You Call the Helpline
1. A skilled, trained advocate who works for Safe+Sound Somerset will answer the phone. This person will listen to you, understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support and share any resources that may be helpful.
2. If all lines are busy, the line will hang up. You should call back in a few minutes to reach someone. For the safety of survivors, we do not take messages and return calls.
Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRT)
Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRT) were first authorized in New Jersey in 1987 through the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. When police respond to a domestic violence call, the officer secures the safety of the victim and other family members and offers the assistance of the DVRT.
DVRT volunteers respond at the time of crisis to help victims get through the “golden hour” of intervention. The sooner assistance is offered to the victim, the more empowered they are to address the domestic abuse in their life. Findings show that establishing an early connection between a DVRT advocates and domestic abuse victims is a leading factor in reducing recidivism rates.
The DVRT volunteer is specially trained to provide critical information at a very overwhelming time. A DVRT volunteer helps the victim have a clear understanding of their options as they go through the legal process to obtain a temporary restraining order. Follow up and support are provided if a temporary restraining order is granted and a court appearance is necessary to obtain a final order of protection.
The role of DVRT advocates:
- Listening and supporting the victim, providing an opportunity for them to talk about the incident in a safe, non-threatening atmosphere. The DVRT advocate can extend a limited client confidentiality privilege to the victim.
- Answer questions and provide information about victims’ rights and domestic abuse laws, so the victim can make informed decisions.
- Explain the court restraining order process.
- Review the dynamics of domestic abuse to provide clarity of the situation.
- Assist in assessing immediate needs for shelter, safety planning, and children’s safety if applicable.
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) members also respond in time of crisis. Under New Jersey law, an individual who has been sexually assaulted has the right to have a specially trained Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate present during all medical and law enforcement procedures.
Volunteer advocates, who have specialized training, are called Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates (CSVA) and are available to assist individuals after a sexual assault. While it takes tremendous strength and courage to reach out to other for help at such a difficult and traumatic time, the CSA can be an important resource providing support, information about victims’ rights under the law, and referrals to other community services.
SART can be activated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling our helpline at 866.685.1122 or by going to the Emergency Department at RWJ University Hospital Somerset in Somerville.
Safe+Sound Somerset’s services are CONFIDENTIAL and offered at NO CHARGE.