Our compassionate, well-trained advocates can be an important first step in the healing process after an assault. Advocates respond 24/7 to all medical facilities in Travis County, including UT Urgent Care, and are not affiliated with law enforcement, hospital systems, or the criminal justice system.

SAFE advocates are the only first responders with whom victims have confidentiality.

Role of the sexual assault victim advocate

To provide immediate crisis intervention, confidential emotional support, information and advocacy to victims and their loved ones. The advocate is part of a coordinated response team and facilitates medical and legal services while providing trauma-informed, victim-centered care. Our advocates may:

  • Explain legal and medical options
  • Orient victims to systems they may have contact with as a result of the crime, serving as a liaison between the victim and these systems
  • Ensure victims are treated with respect by other service providers
  • Address safety concerns, immediate basic needs, and help make a safety plan
  • Accompany and support victims during the medical forensic exam (with victim’s consent)
  • Discuss the effects of trauma and provide adaptive coping strategies for the days ahead
  • Coordinate follow-up services
  • Educate family and friends on trauma and how to support the victim

Goals of immediate crisis intervention

  • Validation and stabilization of the victim, including planning for safety and managing emotional reactions
  • Empowerment of the victim by facilitating an increased sense of control and a mobilization of resources
  • Reconnection of the victim by establishing a personal connection, facilitating contact with supports (including support services at SAFE), and decreasing feelings of isolation
  • Comfort measures without interfering with evidence collection

Our advocates

Victims have the legal right to have an advocate in the room during their exam. Advocates are volunteers and staff, many of whom have advanced education and experience in related fields. Advocates complete 60 hours of training in sexual assault response, including:

  • Crisis intervention skills and techniques
  • Safety planning and risk assessment
  • Confidentiality, health care privacy, informed consent, and mandated reporting