• To contact an SOS Victim Advocate, call the UD Helpline 24/7/365 at 302-831-1001 and press 1. The clinician will check to make sure you are safe, then take a first name & phone number and have an Advocate call you back within 10 minutes.

Joining FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Joining S.O.S.

  1. Q:  I missed the application period.  When will applications be accepted again?

A:  We accept application once/year, beginning at the start of the fall semester, with a deadline typically at the end of October.  Please check back in the fall for our next application period.

2. Q:  I am going to be on Study Abroad or home over Winter Session.  Is there any other time that I can go through training so that I can join this year?

A:  Unfortunately, there is not.  S.O.S. training provides the critical information and skill development for anyone who wishes to serve as an advocate on our 24/7 crisis service and present S.O.S. programs.  Last year we offered the opportunity that students could, at their own expense, participate in NOVA’s 40-hour online Victim Advocacy training over the Spring semester in lieu of S.O.S. Training.  No one opted for this experience, and it is not ideal, as it does not cover UD & SOS specific information so additional sessions would be required.  Missing training also means missing the important trust-building and bonding that happens within the group.    Freshmen & sophomore students who would like to join but will be abroad this year are encouraged to apply in Fall 2018 and to plan accordingly to be available for training over Winter 2019.

3. Q: I am a senior and just found out about S.O.S.  Can I still apply?

A:  Yes, if you are planning to remain in the area for the rest of the year after graduating.  A great deal of time, energy, and expense goes into planning training, so we ask that advocates commit to at least a year with S.O.S. before moving on.  This protects the organization from not losing our most valuable resource too soon (OUR ADVOCATES!) so that we can continue to provide the services we offer.  It also enhances the value of your experience by allowing you opportunities to practice your skills on the 24 hour service and presenting programs.

4. Q: What is the time commitment expected from me?

A:  There are some clear expectations of time commitment that are fixed, while others are more flexible.  Members are in control of when, and how often, they sign up for their commitments in S.O.S.

  • MANDATORY TRAINING – The 2 weekends of training in January (30 hours) are mandatory. Students cannot join S.O.S. unless they can commit to all of these 2 weekends.
  • ADDITIONAL TRAINING – The semester following your training, there will also be the option of completing 10 additional hours of training to make you eligible for a national advocate credential. This portion is not required to join S.O.S.  (More on this in #5 under Certification.)
  • MEETINGS – S.O.S. holds meetings every other week (about twice per month, sometimes more). It is important for members to attend in order to participate in group planning and decision-making, to allow members the opportunity to process contacts they have had, and to stay abreast of what is going on in the organization.  Of course, your academic commitments come before S.O.S., but volunteers are asked to commit to attending half of these in a given semester (about once/month).
  • DUTY SHIFTS – An individual duty shift lasts for a 24 hour period from 7pm of one night until 7pm of the following night. Advocates are asked to sign up for at least one duty shift every month.  In some months, like January and June through August, many members are at home, abroad or engaged in full-time internships that make it difficult to take shifts.  In these months it is helpful when those available members can take more shifts each month to insure that the schedule gets covered.  Beyond these basics, the commitment level is up to the individual – some members wish to take more shifts to get more experience or to work toward the next level of certification, while others may prefer or need to take less in a given month.  There are provisions built in to cover shifts when advocates have a sudden emergency, death in the family, breakup, illness, or other hardship.
  • PROGRAMS – There isn’t a specific minimum number of programs that advocates are asked to do. That said, it is the responsibility of the group to insure that program requests get filled.   Again, the commitment level is up to the individual – some members wish to get a lot of programming experience, while others may prefer or need to take less in a given month.
  • INTERVIEWS – Each November we interview new applicants wishing to join SOS. All advocates are asked to participate in at least one interview night, and we may need some folks to volunteer to do a second night in order to interview all applicants.

5. Q: How are duty shifts assigned?

A:  Shifts are not assigned.  Each advocate is in control of what dates they sign up for duty, and how many to take on.  Shift sign-up is managed through an online platform.  The goal is always to have a month filled about a week prior to the start of that month.

6. Q: What are the benefits of joining S.O.S.?

A:  There are MANY AWESOME BENEFITS to joining S.O.S.!!

  • Find your people – Many advocates report having found their place at UD in S.O.S., finding a fit in this meaningful community, and making lifelong friends. If you are passionate about victim advocacy, ending sexism and sexual/relationship violence, helping others, educating, or effecting change in the world, the members of S.O.S. might be your people too!
  • Resume-builder – if you are interested in going into victim advocacy, sexual violence prevention, counseling, domestic violence prevention, public policy, nursing, social work, social services, medicine, criminal justice, etc. – the experience you gain as an advocate will be a huge selling point on your resume.
  • Practical Skills – Many advocates learn helping and communication skills through their work in S.O.S. that assist them in their own personal relationships, work relationships, and in their classes. In addition, advocates become more comfortable giving presentations and hone their facilitation skills.
  • Life-changer – Many advocates report having found their true passion and career focus through their participation in the group.  In fact, S.O.S. alumni have gone on to work professionally in Delaware in victim services, at the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), at Know Your IX, or to work in higher education as faculty or as Student Affairs/Student Life professionals.  Alumni have also gone on to medical school, law school, or to seek advanced degrees in public policy, criminal justice, sociology, etc.
  • Certification – S.O.S. Training is an NACP pre-approved course. When you have successfully completed training, you are eligible to seek Certification as a Victim Advocate at the Provisional level through NOVA – National Organization for Victim Assistance.
  • Fun & Connection – S.O.S. meetings provide not only dinner to members, but also a safe space for everyone to be who they are and feel accepted.

7. Q: I am a survivor of sexual or relationship violence and I am wondering if I will be able to engage in this work without being triggered?

A:  You are wise to consider this.  Survivors can be awesome and powerful advocates for other survivors, after they have gone through an active healing process and reached a place of readiness to help others.  Survivors’ own vulnerabilities can be exposed or triggered when working in this role.  It is important for you to consider:  What have you done to engage in an active healing process?  How do you cope with crisis and stress?  If you have triggers, how do you manage them?  What has brought you to the point where you feel the next step for you is advocacy work?  Survivors may be asked to engage in a second interview to explore these themes.  It is dangerous to the health and well-being of survivors who are not in fact ready to be advocates to try to serve in that role, and it is dangerous to the health and well-being of those survivors who call S.O.S. seeking help to have survivors serving as advocates who are not fully emotionally & psychologically ready or prepared for this role.  It is with all parties’ best interests at heart that we approach this topic when we are interviewing candidates.

If your questions are not answered here, you are welcome to call Student Wellness & Health Promotion at 302-831-3457 during University business hours to set up a time to meet with the Coordinator or an advocate to ask your questions about joining.

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