The crime of rape is the trigger for so many other social and health issues experienced by people in our communities. Who better then than volunteers from the community to assist rape survivors?To empower the communities, Rape Crisis is hosting a volunteer counselling course in Athlone.“The training course is hosted as face-to-face counselling, provided by volunteers who are wanting to give off their time to give back to their communities. “As such we promote the training course within the communities that we serve to provide this service. We schedule the training as the need arises within the organisation to capacitate the service,” says Barbara Williams, programme manager at Rape Crisis.According to her, there has been an increase in the reporting of cases at Rape Crisis throughout the years.“There is supposed to be a trauma room at all police stations where survivors of rape are meant to give their statement. However, many cases are still not being reported.” The course comprises three-month theoretical training, held in the evening, followed by six-month practical training after which participants graduate as a volunteer counsellor if they meet all the necessary criteria.“The screening and selection process is quite intense, as well as the training, because of the nature of the work we do at Rape Crisis,” Williams says.The organisation believes that, through its volunteer programme, it is creating opportunities for the communities they serve to not just learn a skill to use in service, but also to serve as a stepping stone for some kind of career path for the volunteers. Thus the reason for Rape Crisis recruiting from the surrounding communities.“When you are a rape survivor, you can go to your local police station or to the Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) where the forensic medical examination is done. The TCC will call the police to the centre for the rest of the procedures.“Rape Crisis provides face-to-face counselling. It also has a 24-hour helpline so people can call after hours if they need to,” she says.Rape Crisis runs support groups for both adolescents and adults, as well as parent support groups, and these are the primary roles that a counsellor fulfils at its services. The closing date for applications is Friday 31 January.Contact Barbara Williams on 021 447 5458 or email@example.com.