Victim Advocates are critical in any community response to sexual assault. Their basic function is to provide information and options counseling to victims in a non-judgmental and supportive fashion, making suggestions to the victim but encouraging and allowing the victim to decide what actions to take for herself. Every victim presents with a different experience and has different needs and expectations, so it is crucial that victim advocates be prepared to provide a wide range of information and resources to best meet each individual’s needs.
For Victim Advocates in Alaska, victim needs can often be complicated by lack of access to services in the local community, proximity to the offender due to the small size of the community, and family relations between advocates and those seeking services. The resources provided in this section are designed to help Alaska Victim Advocates navigate these challenges so they can better help victims heal from the trauma of sexual assault.
Under Safety Planning, advocates will find guidance on how to help a victim develop a personal safety plan. While written safety plan templates are provided, it is important to remember that safety planning is a process, not an end product. Safety planning requires ongoing conversations with victims in which advocates discuss various areas of concern as they arise. Documenting the safety plan helps a victim to remember their safety strategy, but they may choose not to keep the written plan with them as it could be discovered by their abuser and put them in danger.
The Confidentiality & Privilege tab provides information regarding confidentiality, privacy, and privilege, how those concepts are related, and the legal requirements governing when an advocate may and may not share information. The issue of serving in dual professional roles and its effect on confidentiality and privilege are also explored on this tab.
On the Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) tab, victim advocates can educate themselves about the purpose of a SART and their specific role on this team.
Victim Advocates may receive a subpoena, court order, or discovery request during the course of their duties. The Responding to Subpoenas tab provides information regarding what actions a victim advocate should take when considering a response to a subpoena, how these orders can impact victim advocate confidentiality and privilege, and how to prepare for deposition or court testimony if it is required.
The Victim Shelters and Services tab provides a list of Alaska Tribal programs providing services to sexual assault victims, as well as non-Tribal community programs serving Alaska Native victims of sexual assault.
The final tab, State/Tribal DV/SA Coalitions, lists the Alaska coalitions that are available to provide training and technical assistance to sexual assault direct service providers within the State.