Speaking up for those who can’t
Today’s client spotlight highlights a critically important organization in Asheville: Our VOICE, a nonprofit crisis intervention and prevention agency serving survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking age 13 through adult in Buncombe County. Since its beginning in 1974 as an all-volunteer, grassroots organization, the agency has helped countless people of various ages to overcome the trauma of sexual abuse.
Says Executive Director Rita Sneider-Cotter, “Our VOICE plays a critical role offering compassionate care while assisting our clients, frequently frightened and overwhelmed, in receiving help from medical, legal and social service systems.”
Our VOICE employs eleven paid staff trained to ensure that clients’ rights are respected and needs are met, regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, immigration status, or sexual identity.
Sneider-Cotter adds, “Our staff works tirelessly to change the sexual abuse landscape by providing adults and teens who have been impacted by human trafficking and sexual violence with the appropriate combination of direct support, education, counseling, and advocacy.”
Our VOICE provides the following services:
- 24-hour crisis line
- Case management
- Individual and group counseling
- Accompaniment to medical services, law enforcement interviews and court proceedings
- Information and referrals
Our VOICE’S educational programs focus on both prevention and support through three targeted programs:
- Youth and School Programs: offered at no cost to middle grades, high schools, and college youth. Focus on consent, boundary setting, online safety, and bystander intervention techniques
- Community programs: providing training to businesses and groups, empowering community members to become better advocates for public safety at all levels
- Support groups: uniting individuals who are dealing with the after-effects of sexual violence. Focus on coping skills and strategies for everyday life, encouraging each other and sharing strategies for healthy living
The crisis line is a critical component of the and is monitored by staff and volunteers 24/7. “We handle an average of 35 calls a week. It’s often our first contact with victims, and it’s so important to have qualified, trained personnel to handle these calls. We seek to build trust, let them know we’re here for them, and get them to come in for counseling,” notes Sneider-Cotter.
The team at Our VOICE is passionate and dedicated to their mission “to inspire hope and healing while ending sexual violence and human trafficking”. All services are provided confidentially and are entirely free of charge.
Our VOICE office hours are 8-5, Monday-Friday. The 24-Hour Crisis Hotline is always open 828.255.7576.