For Advocacy Programs

Tools That Help You Explore Advocacy Practice

This page has tools for advocacy programs seeking to strengthen services for survivors of sexual violence. The tools below will help individual advocates explore their advocacy practice, and advocacy programs build their capacity to provide comprehensive sexual assault services. In addition to these tools, our staff provides specialized support and training for rural advocacy programs and folks with a transitional housing program. For more exploration, conversations, collaboration, brainstorming, or connection with peers reach out to our staff.

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Resources for Advocacy Programs

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Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is complex and can affect survivors’ physical health, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, social relationships, and sense of safety well into adulthood. Far too many adult survivors of child sexual abuse suffer in silence, neglect, and isolation. The resources below will help your rural program navigate advocacy for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Available Resources

Advocacy Skills

Our ability to help survivors of sexual violence navigate their own personal journey of healing is dependent upon the knowledge we gather and the skills we practice. Sexual violence advocacy requires many intangible skills such as active listening, empathy, building rapport, empowerment, and collaboration. With the resources below you will be able to practice these advocacy skills in order to help survivors find their voices and reclaim their power.

Available Resources

Advocating for All Communities

Advocacy programs have a responsibility to prioritize sexual violence services for the most marginalized and oppressed survivors in rural communities. Learning about marginalized communities should not be seen as “extra” or an “add-on,” but instead essential to the mission of the program. The resources below will help your program learn more about providing services to specific marginalized communities present in your rural community. All of the resources here are cross-listed into other topics present in the toolkit.

Assessment & Evaluation

Evaluation is the backbone of strong sexual assault advocacy. Evaluation proves out success to employees, community leaders, and funders. It lets us measure what we are doing right and figure out how to do more of it. Most importantly, evaluation gives survivors and community members a voice in our empowerment-based agencies. We cannot know if services are working for survivors unless we ask. The resources below will help your rural program meaningfully assess where you are currently and where you want to go.

Children & Youth

Youth who experience sexual violence deserve our advocacy services and support. Children and teens are resilient, creative, and capable of healing. The resources below will help you strengthen your advocacy skills when working with minors and help your program create strong advocacy services with children and youth in mind.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality builds trust and provides the foundation for our relationship with survivors and our community. In rural communities confidentiality can be difficult to navigate, which makes it all the more important to survivors of sexual violence. The resources below will provide your program with the tools to create truly confidential sexual violence services.

Healing

Sexual violence deeply affects so many areas of our lives: health, spirituality, emotions, sexuality, and relationships. These are areas of hurt and areas where we can focus our healing services. Advocacy is about helping survivors find their path to healing from trauma and that goal can only be achieved by supporting the whole person. The resources below will help your program envision healing services for survivors of sexual violence.

Helplines

Our rural helpline services allow sexual violence survivors, their family and friends, and professionals 24-hour access to connection, information, and supportive services. Helpline services, more than any other service, give sexual violence survivors unencumbered access to trauma informed support in rural communities. The resources below will help your programs structure helpline services for survivors of sexual violence.

Housing Advocacy

Home is supposed to mean safety, security, and comfort. But for many survivors of sexual violence, home can be a triggering space fraught with memories of violence and trauma. The resources below will help your rural program use housing advocacy to create spaces of healing and comfort for survivors of sexual violence.

Recorded Calls & Webinars

Medical Advocacy

Sexual violence has profound and long-term impacts on the physical health of survivors. Comprehensive medical advocacy extends beyond the immediate medical needs of survivors after sexual violence and into long-term health needs. The resources below will help your program envision medical advocacy that can meet all of the healthcare needs of survivors of sexual violence.

Organizational Management

Dual/multi-service advocacy programs are in a unique position to provide excellent rural sexual assault resources when offered effective strategies in organizational structure, staff training, and community partnerships that successfully balance programmatic needs and meet the unique needs of sexual violence survivors. The resources below will help you create an organizational structure and culture to best serve survivors of sexual violence.

Available Resources

PREA

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) calls on corrections officials to take concrete steps to detect, prevent, and respond to sexual abuse and harassment inside detention facilities. While the PREA standards don’t apply to advocacy programs, only corrections agencies, advocacy programs have a responsibility to serve the entire community, jails and prisons included. The resources below will help your program learn more about PREA and how to provide advocacy to survivors who are incarcerated.

Rural

Addressing sexual violence in rural communities comes with its own specific set of strengths and challenges which are distinctly different than urban communities. The resources below are some of our favorite resources that specifically address the realities of working in rural communities.

Support Groups

Support groups offer a powerful and unique form of healing for survivors of sexual violence. Hearing other survivors speak and receiving peer level support provides a different form of healing than therapy or advocacy can provide. The resources below will help your program create sexual assault specific support groups for rural survivors in your area.

Supporting Staff

The strength of advocates comes from being emotionally healthy and well-supported. When individual advocates and their organizations are healthy, we can bring our best self to the work every day. As we build our sexual assault services, it is imperative to have a plan that is both proactive and responsive to vicarious trauma experienced by those doing direct service. Healthy leadership also recognizes the unique isolation felt by multilingual advocates and staff of color working in rural areas. The resources below will help your programs create policies and practices to support staff.

Trauma-Informed Services

Trauma informed services are services created to support the healing and growth of survivors while avoiding re-traumatization. Trauma informed services provide a framework for understanding the impact of trauma on survivors, communities, and those that serve them and ensures that our services are responsive to the needs of sexual violence survivors. The resources below will help your program understand what trauma informed services look like so you can re-envision services for survivors of sexual violence.

Volunteer Programs

Volunteers are an important part of the work we do with survivors. With the help of volunteers we are able to provide services to our entire community, prevent burnout and reduce vicarious trauma, and increase our fundraising efforts. A sustainable and strong sexual violence advocacy program is difficult to maintain without a thriving volunteer program. The resources below will help your program create your own volunteer program in your rural community.

Building Resilience: Conversations with and about Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

The Building Resilience team has created a 12-episode conversation series to help you better understand how to serve adult survivors of child sexual abuse. The conversation series, along with the accompanying resources, will help you better understand the ways that childhood sexual abuse continues to affect survivors in adulthood and how you can help.

Advocates and leadership at programs can listen to the series at their own pace, on their own time. We have also created each episode to feel like a video podcast, meaning you don’t need to be watching the screen the whole time. You can knit, look out the window, or color one of the coloring book pages specifically created to accompany the conversation series! Do what you need to do to take care of yourself while you listen. If you want to talk with us about how your program addresses the needs of adult survivors of child sexual abuse in your community, reach out to an RSP team member.

Recorded Webinars

Below you can find recordings of recent webinars.