Advocate Highlight: Bay Area Women Against Rape

Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) was formed in 1971 and was the first rape crisis center in the country. BAWAR is actively engaged in support services and community education and outreach.

The agency offers 24-hour services, including a sexual violence hotline and accompaniment services that are also available around the clock. All BAWAR staff and volunteers are certified by the state of California as Sexual Assault Counselors. The certification training is offered three times a year and is 66 hours in length.

The 24-hour accompaniment services are available to survivors of sexual assault. Certified counselors accompany survivors to the hospital for forensic evidence collection, police stations, and court hearings.

BAWAR also engages with survivors through in-person peer counseling and in-person clinical counseling.

Another resource offered by BAWAR is the Sexually Exploited Minors (SEM) program. The SEM program was launched in 2009 as a response to the overwhelming increase in sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Alameda County. The SEM program provides counseling, case management, court accompaniment, and crisis support to at-risk youth. Youth in the SEM program are referred by law enforcement and are frequently in the juvenile justice system, the foster care system, or are wards of the state. Not all youth in the SEM program are sexual assault survivors since the program exists to intervene and support those at risk of sexual exploitation. Clients who receive resources from the SEM program are predominantly from communities of color.

BAWAR has seen an increase in sexual violence hotline calls in the wake of the “me too” movement raising awareness of recognizing sexual assault and advocating for survivors. Given the diversity of the population BAWAR employs and serves the agency may encounter a name change in the future.

Abby Larson, Training Coordinator for BAWAR will be at the space on February 9, 2018 for a community Q&A.

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