Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy Program
How Can An Advocate Help Me?
Advocates are well trained faculty and staff members who volunteer their time to partner with victims to provide emotional support and to help them begin their recovery process by addressing the following issues.
- Medical Concerns:
Advocates can ensure that victims connect with the local hospital or campus health services to address any medical issues resulting from the assault. Victims may also wish to have a Forensic Exam performed by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner so that evidence can be collected in case the victim decides in the future to pursue criminal charges for the assault.
There is no charge for the forensic exam kit or the physical
exam to collect evidence. Charges for this exam are covered by
The West Virginia Forensic Exam Fund.
www.fris.org/ForensicMedicalExam It is possible however that
you will be charged for other testing/treatment received such as
STD testing, Plan B, antibiotics or other prescriptions. If you do not wish your
insurance to be billed for this care you can request that this
care be provided by the Shepherd University Health Center.
The West Virginia Victim Compensation Fund is another resource
for victims who may need assistance with covering related
medical expenses. However there are certain criteria that must
be met including reporting of the crime within 72 hours.
- Safety Concerns:
Advocates can help address any safety concerns the victim may have by coordinating with
university police, residence life and/or the Dean of Students. For example, a perpetrator of an assault can be relocated to a different resident hall or if the perpetrator attends the same class arrangements can be made for him/her to be removed from that class. Advocates can also help victims pursue a protective order through the court or a no-contact order through the Dean of Students.
(Link to protective order page)
- Reporting Options:
Advocates can help victims understand all of their reporting options
(link to reporting options page) including the right to not report. Should a victim choose to file a report with campus police or through the Office of Student Conduct the advocate can accompany the victim and provide information and support throughout the process.
- Temporary Academic Accommodations:
Due to the psychological impact of trauma it can be difficult for victims to function well academically. With the victim’s consent advocates can help communicate with professors about additional supports that student may need while recovering from the trauma of the assault.
Each victim’s experience is different and they each have different needs and issues. The advocates can also assist students in connecting with the resources they may need either on or off campus such as counseling services or Shenandoah Women’s Center.