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Advocates

For Advocates

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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 mental health 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 and guidance 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 this aspect of your work with any survivor who seeks help from you or your team.

The Importance of co-advocacy

When working with sexual assault victims, a promising practice is the utilization of co-advocacy to comprehensively meet the needs of victims. This means, community-based and systems-based advocates working in partnership to support the survivor as they move through their healing journey.

Ways to Report

System-Based Advocates

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

• Non-confidential advocacy

• Support to law enforcement and district attorneys

• Give victims information about their rights and resources under Colorado Victims’ Rights Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-4.1-301)

• Give victims information about the case and criminal justice process

• Assistance 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.)

• Provide emotional support and trauma-informed response

• Education for the victim’s loved ones regarding the effects of sexual violence

Community-Based Advocates

Community-based advocates often work at sexual assault advocacy centers or dual domestic violence and sexual assault programs. Not every community has this type of program. To learn more about what is available in your area, please visit the resource map on our site.

• Source for confidential advocacy (Note: community-based victim advocates are only mandatory reporters for child abuse and neglect, not for older adults or survivors with developmental disabilities)

• Provide emotional support and trauma-informed response

• Support group, counseling, therapy services, or referrals to other agencies that provide these services

• Education for the victim’s loved ones regarding the effects of sexual violence

• Victim 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 victims information about their rights and resources under Colorado Victims’ Rights Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-4.1-301)