Middlesex County Freeholders Announce New Name For Sexual Violence Counseling, Prevention Program

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced April 4 that the county’s sexual violence program has been renamed the Middlesex County Center for Empowerment: Sexual Violence Counseling, Advocacy, and Prevention Education, as part of a larger effort to bring awareness to the issue of sexual violence and services available to help victims and educate the public.

The Center, known since 1977 as the Rape Crisis Intervention Center, initially focused on supporting survivors of rape in the immediate crisis period. It has since expanded its scope to include a full-range of services and educational programming aimed at empowering the entire community to rise up against sexual violence in all its forms.

Freeholder H. James Polos, Chairperson of the County’s Public Safety and Health Committee, said: “The new name better reflects all the work that is being done by county staff to ensure that survivors receive the therapeutic, governmental and institutional support they deserve, and that our community is working toward the elimination of sexual violence.”

The Center offers the support of Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates and professional counselors at any point in the healing process. Whether someone is coping with sexual assault, sexual abuse by a significant other or as a child, sexual harassment at school or work, or any other way someone is feeling violated in a sexual manner, the Center’s 24-hour hotline provides access to a full-range of therapeutic and advocacy services.

“Just as counseling and support services have expanded since the Center’s inception, so has its educational programming. Once primarily focused on informing the public about sexual violence, available services, and reducing one’s risk of becoming victimized, the Center’s innovative prevention programming aims to change the societal attitudes and behaviors that support a culture of violence,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios

The Middlesex County Center for Empowerment is a public service functioning under the auspices of the County of Middlesex, Department of Public Safety and Health, Office of Health Services. For more information about services, educational programming, and how to get involved, contact the Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-877-665-7273.

The following County and partner events have been scheduled in observance of “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

April 17: The Middlesex County Center for Empowerment’s Clothesline Project, a testimonial display of survivor-created shirts displayed upon a clothesline to honor survivors, aid them in their healing through artistic expression and raise awareness, will be displayed at Middlesex County College in the Main Lounge at the College Center, 2600 Woodbridge Ave., Edison, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

April 26: Middlesex County will recognize Denim Day by permitting County employees to wear denim to raise awareness of sexual violence.

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