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Advocacy Reference Tool

Advocates: you can refer to this document as it makes sense in your work with a client. Remember to be flexible depending on the client’s needs and the goal of advocacy.

Assessment of Immediate Need

  • Establish rapport
    • Assure them that you believe them
    • Use nonjudgmental listening skills
    • Reassure them that it is not their fault and that the perpetrator is responsible
  • How are they right now?
  • Where are they right now?
  • Are they safe (emotionally, mentally, physically)?
  • Are they alone or with others?
  • Are they able to talk freely?

Definition of Problem/Crisis

  • Explanation of agency services
    • Confidentiality
    • Exceptions to confidentiality
      • Mandated reporting (child abuse and neglect, vulnerable adults)
      • Imminent threats of harm to self or others
  • How can this agency assist?
  • Can they express what they need?
  • Explain role of advocate, be more specific with each new topic or issue

Assessment of Medical Need

  • Do they recognize any immediate medical needs?
  • Explain possible medical needs
    • Pregnancy
    • STIs, HIV
    • Injuries
    • Emergency contraception
  • Explain immediacy of, and the procedures involved in, collecting forensic evidence
  • Evidence is used to document:
    • Victim’s concern
    • Recent sexual intercourse
    • Evidence of trauma
    • Possible identification of assailant
  • Inform them that bathing or douching may destroy evidence
  • Ask them to preserve clothing if they wish to collect any evidence on the clothing
  • Let them know that they do not have to pay for the exam & explain Crime Victims Compensation 
  • Ask about transportation needs, help make arrangements if needed
  • Reaffirm that an advocate is available to accompany and arrange for a meeting if desired

Assessment of Survivor’s Legal Needs

  • Assess survivor’s desire to report to law enforcement
    • Explain the process of reporting, implications of reporting and criminal justice system process
    • Address mandated reporting again (if applicable)
    • Explain Crime Victims Compensation for follow-up medical care and requirement for reporting and continued cooperation with law enforcement 
    • If concerns are expressed about circumstance of the assault or treatment by law enforcement, clarify the reality as you understand it in your community
    • Explain possible ways to report and options for advocate support during this process
  • Assess survivor’s desire to obtain a protection order
    • Explain options (SAPO, DVPO, Vulnerable Adult, Anti-Harassment, Stalking)
    • Explain process for obtaining full order, process for obtaining emergency/temporary order, hearing for perpetrator to respond
    • Assist with paperwork if survivor decides to obtain an order

Explanation of Follow-Up and Closure of Initial Contact

  • Reaffirm belief, support for them, and their strengths
  • Get name and phone number or arrange next contact
  • Explain how they can contact you
  • Remind them of medical follow-up if medical exam was completed
  • Remind them of other agency services and referrals that you can offer

Ongoing Support

  • How are they feeling now?
  • How do they define the problem now?
  • Have their needs changed?
  • Allow them to express feelings
  • Who are their support people?
  • Reinforce that it is ok to take care of themself no matter what their responsibilities may be
  • Reaffirm that an advocate is available for them and significant others for medical, legal and general advocacy
  • Reaffirm that a crisis line is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
Reviewed: March 31st, 2017