Become a community volunteer crisis counselor in the ER for abuse victims

MARYAM ABDUL-ALEEM Special to the AmNews | 9/12/2012, 8:34 p.m.

One out of every four women will experience domestic violence within her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Justice. Likewise, at the emergency rooms at St. Luke's and Roosevelt hospitals in Manhattan, nearly every night a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault is seen by doctors.

That's according to Christopher Bromson, volunteer coordinator at the Crime Victims Treatment Center at St. Luke's and Roosevelt hospitals, where the hospitals provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence through a volunteer program supported by community residents.

Said Bromson, "Our volunteers make an incomparable difference in the lives of those affected by sexual and intimate partner violence. Without their compassionate presence, the emergency department experience after a trauma can be overwhelming. Volunteers are so important because of the sheer volume of clients that we see in our emergency department."

The program at St. Luke's and Roosevelt hospitals started as a community mobilization act in response to a rape on Columbia University's campus in 1977. Since the 1970s, the program has been a staple in the community.

"These crimes continue to be a major issue in our city, and a caring, empathetic face from the community sends a special message and allows the healing to begin immediately," Bromson told the Amsterdam News.

The hospitals are looking for new volunteers. No prior experience is necessary to be a volunteer, but you must be 18 years of age or older and live within 20 minutes of St. Luke's (114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue) or Roosevelt (59th Street and 10th Avenue). Volunteers must also be able to commit for a year and be able to attend training on the following dates: Thursday, Oct. 11 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 14, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 20, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 21, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on how to become a volunteer, call Christopher Bromson at 212-523-4494.