Advocacy FAQ's

 

What is an advocate?

Advocates are certified sexual assault and domestic/dating violence counselors and have completed extensive training on crisis intervention, supporting victim/survivors of violence, providing resources and facilitating accommodations. As advocates we believe that only the victim/survivor knows what the best course of action is for themselves at any given time. As a result, advocates will not push victim/survivors to do anything they don’t want to.

How can an advocate help me?

Advocates provide a safe and confidential listening ear to survivors of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence and stalking. They also provide support to friends and family of survivors. An advocate can do the following:

  • Listen without judgment
  • Provide you with options
  • Information about reporting procedures and what to expect (if interested)
  • Help facilitate medical care (STI preventive medications, emergency contraception, evidence collection “rape kit”)
  • Help facilitate academic/housing accommodations following a sexual assault (if applicable)
  • Answer any questions about police investigations, restraining orders, the student code of conduct and Title IX investigations
  • Accompany a victim/survivor and provide support when reporting to law enforcement, student conduct office, student health and counseling services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Title IX Investigations
  • Provide information about, and help complete, restraining orders
  • Accompaniments to court, police interviews, Title IX investigations

How is an advocate different from a counselor in the student health center?

Advocates are not therapists and are here to provide support and information about taking any sort of action (i.e. finding resources, filing reports, safety planning, etc.). The counselors at Student Health and Counseling Services (CAPS) provide short-term individual, couples, and group therapy.

Do I have to make a report to the police before I seek support services from an advocate?

No.

Do I have to share what happened to me if I talk to the advocate?

No. You have the right to share as much or as little as you want. The advocate can provide options, resources and referrals without knowing any specific or detailed information about the assault.

Will the advocate report anything to my parents, police or other school authorities?

No, everything discussed with an advocate is completely confidential. Limited exceptions include self-harm and/or harm to others. The victim advocate is also a mandated reported for cases of child abuse where the victim/survivor is under 18 years old.

Are services provided by the advocate only for Fresno State students?

Yes. 

Can I talk to an advocate about my friend?

Yes, friends and family members of victim/survivors are encouraged to talk to the advocate to discuss how to best help and support the survivor. 

What is the best way to speak to the advocate?

The advocate may be available on a limited "on-call" basis during operating business hours so you may walk-in the Student Health Center and ask to speak to the advocate. However, there are times that the advocate may be unavailable (due to illness, helping another student etc.) therefore it is recommended that you schedule an appointment by calling 559-278-6796 or emailing the advocate directly at Lrisch@csufresno.edu

What if the advocate is unavailable and I need immediate assistance?

If the advocate is unavailable and you need immediate assistance, the following options are available:

  1. Provide your name/number and have the Victim Advocate call you back 
  2. Schedule an appointment with the Victim Advocate for a future time  
  3. Speak with the counselor on call about the situation
  4. Call a community advocacy line for assistance (Rape Counseling Services – 559-222-7273 or Marjaree Mason Center- 559-233-4357)