Volunteers sought for court advocate program

Volunteers sought for court advocate program

The Rachel Coalition, a division of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ, provides services and support programs for victims of domestic violence in Essex and Morris County. The coalition is looking for volunteers for its Court Advocate Program. This 40-hour hands-on training program educates participants to become advocates, assisting domestic violence victims with emotional and administrative support as they await their restraining order hearing in Essex Family Court in Newark.

Training sessions begin on Monday, March 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. No formal legal experience or education is required. Volunteers will have an opportunity to observe family court proceedings. Volunteers who already have taken a 40 hour domestic violence training class can qualify for an abbreviated training. For more information and to schedule an interview, email Alexandria Flores at aflores@jfsmetrowest.org.

Every year, the Essex Family Court Domestic Violence Unit in Newark handles more than 6,000 cases of domestic violence. Since 2006, the Rachel Coalition has placed trained court advocate volunteers in Essex County Family Court waiting rooms to explain the restraining order process to victims, assist with the initial application, provide information about community services such as legal aid, counseling, and shelters, as well as offer unconditional emotional support. Rachel Coalition provides domestic violence services for all members of the family affected by domestic violence. JFS is a comprehensive social service agency providing mental health counseling and support services on a non-discriminatory basis. For information, call (973) 765-9050 or go to jfsmetrowest.org.

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