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For Advocates

The role of an advocate is critical in supporting survivors in the aftermath of a sexual assault. Victim advocates can help survivors understand what options they have available to them, validate their concerns, feelings, and perspectives, connect them to resources, and explain some of the complex legal and medical systems they may encounter. Under state law, community-based victim advocates who meet specific criteria can provide confidential support to survivors of sexual violence. Systems-based advocates, meaning those advocates who work for law enforcement departments or district attorney’s offices, do not have confidentiality. It is important you are clear about your level of confidentiality and mandated reporting with any survivor who seeks help from you or your team.

Community-based and systems-based advocates can work in partnership to support the survivor as they move through their healing journey. This can be referred to as co-advocacy and can help better comprehensively meet needs of survivors.

Ways to Report

Confidential, Community-Based Victim Advocates

Community-based advocates are professionals who work at sexual assault advocacy centers or domestic violence and sexual assault programs. However, not every community has this type of program. The key services a community-based advocate might offer are:

  • Help survivors understand their options
  • Emotional support
  • Support groups, counseling, therapy services, or referrals to other agencies that provide these services
  • Education for the survivor’s loved ones regarding the effects of sexual violence
  • Survivor assistance with civil legal issues (civil protection order, school-based accommodations, etc.)
  • Support for needs outside the criminal justice system, as well as ongoing support after the criminal justice system resolution
  • Assistance in applying for Colorado Crime Victim Compensation
  • Give survivors information about their rights and resources under Colorado Victim Rights Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-4.1-301)

Non-Confidential, Systems-Based Victim Advocates

System-based advocates are professionals employed at law enforcement agencies, district attorney’s offices, or other public agencies. They provide:

  • Non-confidential advocacy
  • Support to law enforcement or the district attorney
  • Give survivors information about their rights and resources under Colorado Victim Rights Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-4.1-301)
  • Give survivor information about the case and criminal justice process
  • Help in applying for Colorado Crime Victim Compensation
  • Referrals for support groups, counseling, and therapy
  • Referrals for civil legal issues (civil protection order, school-based accommodations, etc.)
  • Emotional support
  • Education for the survivor’s loved ones regarding the effects of sexual violence