Community Based Advocacy and System Based Advocacy



Date of Publication
April, 2016

Washington State has 37 accredited community based advocacy agencies serving each county, as well as many community based by and for community specific advocacy agencies. Some counties also have system based advocacy; many ask why have both and what are the differences? It is crucial for system partners, advocates and communities to understand the importance of the differences, and it is our role as community based sexual assault advocacy agencies to be able to clearly communicate this to the field.

Community Based Systems Based
Community based advocacy serves survivors and those impacted by the assault regardless if they report the assault to the criminal justice system. System based advocacy stems from a report to the criminal justice system, works within the criminal justice system and generally only works with the primary survivor of the sexual assault.
Community based advocacy has “privileged” communication protections RCW 5.60.060(7). System based advocacy does not have “privileged” communication
Community based advocacy champions for all survivors’ rights by providing crisis intervention, general, legal and medical advocacy, support to others impacted by the sexual assault, support groups and community awareness (and the list goes on). System based advocacy does not provide ongoing advocacy after the judicial process is over, they do not accompany for medical visits, they do not provide support to others impacted by the assault or crisis intervention. System based advocacy generally serves as the liaison between the survivor and whatever criminal justice agencies they are in contact with.