What is advocacy and what does an advocate do?
At SASS, “advocacy” means providing support for people as they work through trauma, deal with systems, and work towards healing. Advocates provide that support in a variety of ways. Some basics are:
- SASS Advocacy services are free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day.
- SASS Advocates are trained to listen, provide emotional support and accurate information, support your decisions and choices, and work to help survivors achieve their goals.
- SASS Advocates are not affiliated with law enforcement. All services are available to you regardless of whether you choose to report a crime.
What kinds of services can SASS advocates provide?
In addition, SASS Advocates can offer:
Information and Referrals
Information about legal and medical follow-up procedures and providers, social services, counseling options, additional SASS services, resources available in the community, and trauma response and self-care.
Advocates can work with the survivor to address problems and barriers within systems like the judicial system, health care provider networks, educational systems, or social services system. Survivors may seek support working with specific agencies or entities like the police department, District Attorney’s office, or the Department of Family Service (DHS), etc.. The goal is to assist survivors in achieving their desired outcome and to improve system response to all survivors.
Support for family, friends, partners, and community members
Family members, partners, friends, and other community members (such as healthcare providers, teachers, etc.) often form the core of survivor support systems and significantly affect how survivors cope in the aftermath of sexual violence. This can be a challenging job, and family members, partners, and friends often have their own strong feelings about what happened. Some need help dealing with their own feelings as they support their loved one. Others need help to change if they are engaging in victim-blaming and abusive behavior.
Our advocates support partners, family members, and friends by:
- Interrupting any victim-blaming or inappropriate behavior
- Providing education about how to best support survivors
- Validating and supporting their feelings of anger, shock, and secondary trauma
- Providing referrals and encouragement to access the support they need
How can I get an advocate?
- Call Us. You can call us 24 hours a day and ask to speak with an advocate: 541-343-SASS (7277) or toll-free (in Oregon) 1-844-404-7700
- Drop In. Come to the SASS office Tuesday-Thursday 9am – 4pm to meet with an advocate in person. [note: drop-in services are currently on pause due to COVID-19 (as of March 2020)]
- For more contact information, visit our contact page.
What if I’m not in Lane County Oregon?
Looking for advocacy services located in Oregon outside of Lane County? Find them here (listed by county)
For services located elsewhere within the U.S., contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can access SASS advocacy services?
Any person who has been affected by sexual violence, recently or in the past, or who is a friend, family member, or partner of a person who experienced sexual violence.
SASS services are available to people of all genders, aged 15 and older. If someone younger than 15 needs support, we can refer them to the appropriate agency that specializes in that age group and we can still provide support to family members older than 15.
Are SASS services free?
Yes! All SASS services are free. We may offer referrals to services that are not free, if requested, but we do not charge for our services.
Are services confidential? Will you keep any information about me?
SASS staff are privileged advocates, which means that they cannot share any information about our clients with any person or agency (including law enforcement, Family Services, ICE, etc.) without first getting clear, written permission from that client. Even minors (people under age 18) receive this level of confidentiality. Occasionally, a SASS staff member or volunteer may be a mandatory reporter, but they will always disclose their status when relevant.
We will not keep any information about you, including your name or phone number, unless you have asked us to. In that case, we will have you fill out a Retention of Information form, which will be destroyed after 3 months.
Will I have the same advocate every time I access SASS services?
Probably not. Some clients have specific service needs and therefore might mainly interact with one advocate; for people accessing legal services, they will likely interact with the legal services coordinator most often. However, all SASS staff are trained to provide support and we cannot guarantee the availability of advocates.