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

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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 as they traverse this difficult time. These multiple roles can be really difficult to manage and sometimes feel overwhelming. 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 your friend, family member, and/or loved one by providing them with referrals and resources to trained professionals who can provide advocacy or counseling. This way, your friend, family member, and/or 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 Colorado 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 often work at sexual assault advocacy centers or dual domestic violence and sexual assault programs. Not every community has this type of program, however. Community-based advocates are confidential resources for survivors per state law (C.R.S. § 13-90-107). Key services a community-based advocate might offer are:

  • Source for confidential advocacy
  • 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’s Victims’ Rights Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-4.1-301)

Non-Confidential, Systems-Based Victim Advocates

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

  • Non-confidential advocacy
  • Support to law enforcement and the District Attorney
  • 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

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.