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Who can I refer my friend, family member and/or loved one to speak to for help?

As a friend, family member, and/or loved one of a survivor, it can be tempting to try and be their advocate, counselor, and guide them as they traverse this difficult time. These multiple roles can be really difficult to manage, and sometimes feel overwhelming. It is important to remember that many survivors struggle in reporting their experience due to fear of shame as well as their confidentiality.

We recommend you resist the urge to wear multiple hats, and instead simply be their friend and/or trusted family support during this challenging time. You can assist the survivor by providing them with referrals and resources to trained professionals who can provide advocacy or counseling. As a supporter to the survivor, you can assist them in finding the right reporting options for them that also protect their privacy. This way, your loved one will have access to a variety of resources, including you, enabling them to determine their next steps.

There are several sexual assault advocacy and counseling resources available to survivors in Colorado to assist them in their decision-making process. Take a look at our resource map to find a confidential sexual assault advocacy program near you and/or some 24/7 help line numbers you or a survivor can call for assistance.

There are two kinds of victim advocates your friend, family member and/or loved one may encounter in their journey. It is important to understand the differences between them:

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 you understand your options
  • Emotional support
  • Support group, 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

Ways to Report

Victim advocates will have a variety of counseling and therapy referrals and some rape crisis centers
also offer low to no cost in-house group and individual counseling.