Rachel Coalition seeks volunteers for court advocate program

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The Rachel Coalition, a partnership of nine Northern New Jersey organizations working together to provide services and support programs for victims of domestic violence in Essex and Morris counties, is seeking volunteers for its court advocate program. This 40-hour hands-on training program educates participants to assist domestic violence victims with emotional and administrative support as they await their restraining order hearing in Essex Family Court in Newark.

Training sessions begin March 15 and will be held Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. No formal legal experience or education is required for this volunteer position. Volunteers will have an opportunity to observe family court proceedings. Volunteers who have already taken a 40-hour domestic violence training class can qualify for an abbreviated training. For further information on the program and to schedule an interview, contact Suzanne Groisser, the Rachel Coalition coordinator of legal services, at sgroisser@jfsmetrowest.org.

Each year, the Essex Family Court Domestic Violence Unit in Newark presides over more than 6,000 cases of domestic violence, according to the Rachel Coalition release. 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 help, counseling and shelters, as well as offer unconditional emotional support.

“The Family Court of Essex County has embraced Rachel Coalition’s legal court advocates and we are actively soliciting new participants to enroll in our next session and join our elite core of volunteers,” Groisser said in the release. “If you are seeking a volunteer position with a difference, have an interest in the legal system and want to learn more about ways to assist victims of domestic violence, then this is your invitation. I look forward to working with each new class and the energy, enthusiasm and commitment that they bring to the program.”

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