Annual Volunteer Training

Annual Volunteer Councellor Training

Rape Crisis Helderberg presents a volunteer training course on an annual basis.
(Occationally the training might not happen due to circumstances.)

In 1994 the first training of volunteers took place at Rape Crisis Helderberg. Much of our success is due to the kind volunteers who selflessly help us with our crisis centre, our fundraising and our various projects. The training is for our crisis centre volunteers who are on call in shifts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help any member of the community who is raped.

This work is not for everyone, but for those who do it, it is very fulfilling and it is a great way to serve the community. We are always looking for ladies to train for this important work and help us at the crisis centre. The training has been described as:

“…the rape crisis course examines and addresses some deep and often extremely traumatic issues for women…it is a very intensive, emotionally exhausting training course that will result in a much enhanced understanding of the need for and benefits of Rape Crisis Counseling…the course examines a number of serious topics surrounding the trauma and grief associated with sexual assault…the rape crisis trainees in this program will learn to put aside their own issues, avoid judgment, and listen to the concerns of the women they will be assisting. Women are extremely sensitive and mistrustful following a rape. It is crucial that an assaulted woman recover her power. To this end, counselors will make them feel welcome, offer them a bath and clean clothing, coffee or tea. Making these simple decisions is an important first step in reclaiming one’s dignity and spirit. With commitment and persistence, a counselor can make a tremendous difference in the life of an assaulted woman. From the first small steps of recovering a sense of self to a complete rebuilding of a better life, rape crisis counselors cannot give up on the women to whom they are entrusted.”

The presenters are professional psychologists, social workers, a public prosecutor and the police. Some lecturers offer their services free of charge, while others need to be reimbursed. Volunteers receive advanced training on merit pertinent to the intervention.

Once trained the volunteer accompanies an experienced crisis counselor for a number of cases until the volunteer and the Rape Crisis Management believe the volunteer is ready to do a case on their own.


When a client reports a rape case at a police station in our area or calls our 24-hour crisis number, a volunteer counsellor on 24-hour call-out duty is contacted. The police, client and volunteer counsellor meet at the Helderberg Hospital. The volunteer counsellor then takes the client to our crisis centre just next to the Helderberg Hospital.

Here, in a tranquil environment the volunteer counsellor is able to assist the rape survivor in a dignified manner, ensuring complete confidentiality. Immediate emotional support is the first step on the road to recovery.

The client is prepared and informed about procedures to follow by the volunteer counsellor. The volunteer counsellor informs the survivor about the medical examination, which involves collecting forensic evidence, blood tests and pregnancy testing.

The volunteer counsellor prepares refreshments (tea, coffee and sometimes a sandwich) for the client and when the client is ready for the examination, a district surgeon on duty at the Helderberg Hospital is called.

In the privacy of our centre, the doctor proceeds to collect crucial forensic evidence and does a medical examination. The crime-kit and paperwork for court (required by law) is completed and extra blood samples for HIV and STD’s are taken for testing. If available, the underwear and/or clothing are given to the police for DNA identification and evidence. Medication is provided for STD’s and prevention of pregnancy. AZT (anti-retroviral drug) for the prevention of HIV/Aids is available. The volunteer counsellor respects the clients needs during these procedures, but most often remains with the client throughout to help the client remain calm and comfortable.

The volunteer counsellor gives the client new underwear, clean clothing and toiletries from the centres supplies and the survivor is then able to take a long, warm bath, brush their teeth and change into clean clothing. Further support and counselling is then provided by the volunteer counsellor and follow-up appointments are made.

The volunteer counsellor then calls the police to fetch the client. The crime-kit, other evidence, a report from the volunteer counsellor and the J88 (District surgeon report) are handed over to the investigating officer and the police take the client home.


Rape Trauma Syndrome
Domestic Violence
Rape Video & Discussion
Crisis Counselling
Video on Positive Living & Discussion
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Crisis Pregnancy
Medical Examination & Crime Kit
The Perpetrator
Myths About Rape & Discussion
Child Molestation & Sexual Abuse
Video on Incest & Discussion
Court Procedures

Rape and sexual abuse can lead to serious long-term consequences for the survivor. It is necessary for the person to deal with the trauma to start healing. But it is very difficult to face hidden secrets. Talking about what happened remains one of the fundamentals of coping and starting to heal. The best way to get rid of a feeling is to feel it fully. We provide the space for that to happen and we are committed to provide immediate intervention and the support necessary for healing to take place.

Unfortunately rape and sexual abuse are an ongoing problem and our main purpose is to put back the pieces of lives shattered through sexual violence.


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