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Date Published: Friday, April 26, 2019
Date Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024

SAAVE, Westchester Medical Center’s Crisis Intervention Program, Guides & Counsels Victims of Sexual Assault

With a 24-Hour Hotline, Program Seeks Additional Advocates for Those Impacted by Sexual Assault

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (April 25, 2019) – Recognizing the physical and mental trauma endured by victims of sexual assault Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), is offering crisis intervention and advocacy services through SAAVE (Sexual Assault, Abuse and Victim's Empowerment), a 24-hour support program for Westchester County residents. SAAVE offers comprehensive assistance for victims, and their significant others, who have been affected by sexual assault and misconduct. SAAVE, which includes a toll-free hotline - (833) 220-2444 - and services in both English and Spanish, is certified by the New York State Department of Health.

"SAAVE supports those who have been impacted by sexual abuse while also seeking to train professionals and first responders to better understand the crime of sexual violence," said Licia Sandberg, Senior Director, Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Advocacy Program at Westchester Medical Center. "Our main goal is to give power and control back to those who have been sexually abused. The need for a program like this is abundantly clear."

Offered free of charge by Westchester Medical Center, SAAVE advocates for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, harassment, stalking and psychological trauma.

Through the SAAVE hotline, trained certified crisis intervention advocates provide victims with important information so they can make sound choices on their road to healing. SAAVE advocates help victims craft personalized safety plans and provide emotional support by joining them on medical and legal appointments. Through the program, advocacy and information are provided by SAAVE advocates to help victims navigate the legal system. They also provide referrals to organizations that work with victims to support their needs.

SAAVE crisis advocates help victims to receive compensation through the New York State Office of Victim Services for costs related to lost wages, counseling, medical bills and loss of personal property. They also connect those in need with numerous SAAVE partners, including local shelters, public benefit programs and social service organizations.

SAAVE works hand-in-hand with Westchester Medical Center's certified Forensic Acute Care Team (FACT), a group of experienced nurses and physicians who provide medical care and collect forensic evidence around the clock within 120 hours of an assault. The program trains on violence prevention education and outreach, with a goal of eradicating victimization, and assists community and healthcare providers in identifying and responding to victims to help with the healing process and prevent re-victimization.


Westchester Medical Center's Sexual Assault, Abuse and Victims Empowerment (SAAVE) Program offers supportive, victim-centered, trauma informed advocacy services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, trafficking, stalking, and all forms of sexual misconduct. These services include a 24/7 bilingual rape crisis hotline, accompaniment for victims through forensic rape exams at Westchester Medical Center, and safety planning with high risk domestic violence victims through the law enforcement Lethality Assessment Program (LAP).

Westchester Medical Center is seeking volunteers to become New York State Department of Health certified SAAVE Victim Advocates. Training is provided and an onboarding process is required. SAAVE training can be completed online and, on the volunteer’s own timeline; volunteers will need access to a computer and the Internet to access the training.


  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must complete a 30-hour pre-service curriculum, SAAVE onboarding process and Westchester Medical Center volunteer onboarding process
  • Must have access to a computer and Internet to complete training
  • Commit to a year of volunteer service which includes monthly shifts staffing SAAVE’s 24-hour rape crisis hotline, providing accompaniment to victims in WMC Emergency Department or answering Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) calls from law enforcement and conducting safety planning with domestic violence victims
  • Attend on-going monthly continuing education trainings to maintain certification
  • A valid driver’s license and bilingual skills in English and Spanish are a plus
  • If volunteering to accompany victims through sexual assault forensic exams in WMC Emergency Department, must be able to reach the hospital within 45 minutes to 1 hour.

For details on how to volunteer, please call 914.493.3650, email SAAVE@WMCHealth.org or stop by the SAAVE Office on the Westchester Medical Center Valhalla Campus, Macy Pavilion Room 1043.