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Friday, April 26, 2019

SAAVE, Westchester Medical Center’s Crisis Intervention Program, Guides & Counsels Victims of Sexual Assault

With a 24-Hour Hotline, Program Seeks Additional Volunteers to Assist Those Impacted by Sexual Assault

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (April 25, 2019) – Recognizing the physical and mental trauma endured by victims of sexual assault Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), is offering crisis intervention and counseling services through SAAVE (Sexual Assault, Abuse and Victim’s Empowerment), a 24-hour support program for Westchester County residents. SAAVE offers comprehensive assistance for victims, and their significant others, who have been affected by sexual assault and misconduct. SAAVE, which includes a toll-free hotline - (833) 220-2444 - and services in both English and Spanish, is certified by the New York State Department of Health.

“SAAVE supports those who have been impacted by sexual abuse while also seeking to train professionals and first responders to better understand the crime of sexual violence,” said Licia Sandberg, Senior Director, Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Advocacy Program at Westchester Medical Center. “Our main goal is to give power and control back to those who have been sexually abused, and the need for a program like this is abundantly clear.”

Offered free of charge by Westchester Medical Center, SAAVE counsels victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, harassment, stalking and psychological trauma.

Through the SAAVE hotline, trained crisis intervention counselors provide victims with important information so they can make sound choices on their road to healing. SAAVE counselors can help victims craft personalized safety plans and are available to provide emotional support by joining them on medical and legal appointments. Through the program, advocacy and information are provided by SAAVE counselors to help victims navigate the legal system, as well as referrals to organizations that work with victims to support their needs.

SAAVE crisis counselors also help victims who receive compensation through the New York State Office of Victim Services for costs related to lost wages, counseling, medical bills and loss of personal property. They also connect those in need with numerous SAAVE partners, including local shelters, public benefit programs and social service organizations.

SAAVE works hand-in-hand with Westchester Medical Center’s certified Forensic Acute Care Team (FACT), a group of experienced nurses and physicians who provide medical care and collect forensic evidence around the clock and within 96 hours of an assault. The program initiate violence prevention education and outreach, with a goal of eradicating victimization, and assists community and healthcare providers in identifying and responding to victims to enhance the healing process and prevent re-victimization.

Volunteer…Assist...“SAAVE”

Westchester Medical Center continues to seek volunteers to play a vital, supportive role in its SAAVE program.

Volunteers are asked to participate in 30 hours of pre-service training, commit to a year of service of monthly shifts staffing Westchester Medical Center’s 24-hour rape crisis hotline and assisting victims, as well as attending approximately 10 mandatory meetings/trainings throughout the year.

All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. Bilingual in English and Spanish and a valid driver’s license are pluses. For more information about volunteering and training, please visit https://www.wmchealthsaave.org, e-mail licia.sandberg@wmchealth.org or call (914) 493-6615.