WHAT IS ADVOCACY?
Advocates are available to provide confidential crisis intervention and emotional support through the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. Advocates in the office are full time staff members dedicated to working with students who have experienced trauma. We provide information about academic, legal, medical, emotional, and student conduct resources to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. We also offer support to secondary survivors, such as intimate partners, friends, family, and you. Our advocates are here to serve people, no matter how they identify. We serve cisgender and transgender people. We serve people who identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer.
The 24-hour Victim Assistance Team is available to assist survivors of interpersonal violence and their loved ones 24/7/365. Call 970-492-4242 and ask to speak with an advocate. Advocates are also available for drop-ins or scheduled appointments during business hours at 112 Student Services. All information shared with advocates is confidential unless the person is a danger to themselves, someone is in imminent danger, a child currently under 18 has been abused or if the perpetrator is currently in a position of power over minors (even if the survivor is over the age of 18).
More About Advocacy
Reporting to Law Enforcement
Are you unsure if you want to report to police? Do you have questions about the reporting process? Advocates can help you with a decision to report law enforcement. They can also talk though your reporting options, determine which police department you would report to, support you in court or when meeting with a detective, set up a time for you to begin the reporting process, and answer any questions you may have about process.
Reporting to the University
Are you thinking about reporting to the University but are unsure who to report to? Wondering if you report to the University, does that mean you have to report to police? Are you curious what happens next since you told your RA or a professor about what happened to you, and they made a report to the University? Advocates can help in determining which university office you would to report to, support you when making a report, inform you of your participation options in the process, set up a meeting so that you can make your initial report, and be there with you throughout the process. They can also help you navigate the process if you shared your story with a non-confidential university employee and they had to report to the university.
Providing Academic Resources
Are you struggling in classes or having a hard time focusing on your homework? Are you worried because your perpetrator is in the same class as you? Are you concerned about your financial aid or scholarship? Are you worried about your visa? Advocates can help you identify options for navigating your classes, provide letters of support to your professors, connect you to other academic resources, and help with class or university withdrawal options.
Discussing Medical Care
Are you unsure if you should go to the hospital? Are you worried about STI’s or pregnancy? Advocates can explain the SANE exam (also known as a rape kit), and can meet you at the hospital. They can also help connect you to resources university and community resources for medical care, and discuss resources that may help pay for medical expenses.
Discussing Housing Resources
Do you feel unsafe where you live? Do you need emergency housing? Advocates can help you find emergency housing, create a safety plan, as well as talk through other options you may have with housing.
Orders of Protection
Is your abuser still contacting you after you have asked them to stop? Are you not interested in reporting to the police, but do want a protection order? Advocates can support you though the process of filing and necessary paperwork for protection orders, go with you to any court hearings, as well as get you connected to legal resources.
Please read this section thoroughly before chatting with an advocate. Chat is only available Monday – Thursday from 1 – 4.
If you need help after-hours, please call (970) 492-4242 for our 24-hour hotline.
Not all advocacy can be done through individual in-person sessions. Sometimes, it may be necessary to use a written form of communication, especially in times of distance or when verbalizing the conversation is not ideal or safe. Some survivors may also have accessibility needs or just feel more comfortable chatting with an advocate rather than speaking in–person or over the phone.
Your privacy and safety are crucial. Before you start a chat, please make sure you are in a safe place and that you are using a secure device and Internet connection. Please note that while we have taken numerous measures to keep your communications safe while using our website, no Internet transmission is 100% secure.
We are operating this online chat using only professional confidential advocates. Any information that you share during an online hotline session will be viewed only by the individual assisting you. There are a few limits to our confidentiality. If you tell us about that a child has been abused, a abuser is in a position of power over minors or that you have a plan of suicide or are planning to hurt or someone else, we must report that information to the appropriate authorities.
The information conveyed during your session will NOT be recorded, stored, or saved, although we do keep confidential records on secure software. During your conversation with an advocate, you are not required to provide any information that you do not feel comfortable sharing. We also use non-identifying information based on user needs to improve our services and training. We may share aggregate information (e.g., patterns and trends of topics discussed) to help develop wider understandings of the needs of survivors at CSU.
If you have questions or concerns about any of our chat policies or other WGAC resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I Expect on the Hotline?
The WGAC offers two hotlines, a 24/7 call in hotlines and a chat hotline. Hotlines are an effective, efficient, and often free way for individuals to get the timely support they deserve when faced with an immediate crisis. Our goal is to effectively provide you with the support you deserve as well as resources to help you take the next step in your healing process. Below are some common FAQs for using the online hotline. For more information about our call in hotline, click here.
When can I chat with an advocate?
There are two ways to connect with an advocate over chat. You can schedule a time with an advocate by calling our main office or the hotline. We are also available for drop–in chats Monday – Thursday from 1 – 4 PM. If you would like to chat with an advocate outside these hours you may contact us at email@example.com.
How long can I talk to an advocate?
Advocates are trained to address your immediate concerns and needs. Hotline sessions typically last between 30 and 60 minutes. During this time, our staff will listen to you and try to support you in any way we can. Sometimes, you may need time to process or think about a response. An advocate will check in with you if they haven’t heard from you in several minutes. If there is no response after 10 minutes, the advocate may disconnect the session. If you need further assistance, you are free to start another chat or call the hotline.
How can the advocate help me?
In addition to listening and providing a space for you to share your experience(s), advocates are trained to offer resources and referrals to connect you with more support in your area or online. These referrals are intended to help meet both your immediate and long-term needs as someone affected by interpersonal violence. We have referrals for mental health support, local services, academic assistance, and legal or medical needs. We may also offer you links, book recommendations, and apps for more information about the effects of interpersonal violence and healing from trauma.
Will you have to report if I tell you what happened?
People who turn to the Women and Gender Advocacy Center are often concerned that talking about their experience will require their advocate to report to law enforcement. However, you only need to share what you feel comfortable sharing and we will never ask for this information. Again, we have an obligation to report only if you tell us a child is being harmed, an abuser is in a position of power over children, or if you plan to commit suicide or harm someone else.
What to expect from chatting with a WGAC advocate:
- You can expect that we will ask you if we are understanding you correctly. Sometimes tone and meaning can be hard to get right when in written form. Asking means we are really trying to listen to you and understand your situation.
- Advocates will also not respond with emojis or GIFs. Not because we lack humor, but rather the meaning of these can be different for different people. We want to make sure we can accurately convey our intent and meaning.
- We will check in about safety concerns and make sure those are addressed before we chat.
- We will ask for some information, AND it is ok to decline to answer or tell us you would rather remain anonymous.
How We Protect Your Security:
The WGAC stores some information on secure software that is only accessible by WGAC employees. However, as previously noted, we may aggregate certain information and provide reports. Again, we do not store transcripts of chat communications.
We use different security techniques to protect your personal information from unauthorized access by users inside and outside of our organization. You should be aware, however, that “perfect security” does not exist anywhere on the Internet. ALTHOUGH WE BELIEVE WE TAKE APPROPRIATE MEASURES TO SAFEGUARD AGAINST UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURES OF INFORMATION, WE CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE WGAC WILL NEVER BE DISCLOSED IN A MANNER INCONSISTENT WITH THIS POLICY.
Always be careful and responsible regarding your personal information and online communications. We are not responsible for and cannot control the use of any information which you provide or divulge to other people, whether purposefully or inadvertently. Please note that the owner of any computer or device on which you access the WGAC may have the right to access computers that they own or have provided. We do not control the privacy policies of other organizations or individuals. We will not publish, sell, or share information about you in any way different from what has been disclosed.
How does data from the chat get stored?
We do not keep transcripts of our conversations, and the software we use is end-to-end encrypted, meaning the company cannot access our chat. It is possible that, after we are done chatting, you may want to remove any trace of it from your device. For more information about how to do that see our page about User Safety Procedures.
What happens to any personally identifiable information?
“Personally Identifiable Information” is information that would identify you, such as your name or address. Advocates may ask your city and state in order to provide you with local referrals for ongoing support. Advocates will ask about if you would like to set up any follow up, in which case we might ask you for some more information.
The information conveyed by you to our advocates during your online chat session is intended to be part of a private conversation.
Click here if you have read and understand the relevant information for chat advocacy and feel ready to start chatting.
CSU students of any gender identity or expression who identify as a survivor of interpersonal violence are welcome to attend after a brief consultation with one of our advocates. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Support Group for Survivors of Interpersonal Violence
Fridays 3:30 – 4:45 PM
A support group for survivors of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, relationship violence, and/or stalking. Space is created for students to process their experiences, discuss coping strategies, and learn more about how to manage the impact of trauma. There are no structured topics discussed each week, but themes do often arise during each group session. Check with your advocate for more information on how to attend group.
The Body & the Mind
Trauma can be an overwhelming experience both emotionally and psychologically. When our minds cannot understand or process experiences, they often stay with us in our bodies. Movement, breathwork, self-massage, and mindfulness-based practices can provide treatment beyond talk therapy helping to alleviate the body’s experience of trauma. To participate in this group, email email@example.com.
Secondary Survivors Workshop
This workshop is available for partners, family, and friends of gender-based violence survivors. In this workshop we’ll be covering topics from how trauma affects the brain, how you can best support your loved one, and how vicarious trauma can impact support systems. This is a 3-hour workshop that is offered a few times a semester. Dinner is provided and a no-cost registration is required. For questions or to register for the workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mindfulness in Nature Workshop
This workshop teaches survivors how to utilize mindfulness practices in natural spaces to help on the path toward healing. This workshop generally takes place once per semester. For questions or to register for the workshop, email email@example.com.
Please be aware that internet use can easily be monitored. If you are in danger, do not use a computer that can be accessed by someone who is abusive.
If you are viewing the Women & Gender Advocacy Center’s website and need to quickly get to an unrelated site, click the “escape” button.
If you are unable to use a safe computer, be sure to clear your internet browser history. Click the following links to find out how to clear your internet browser history for your browser:
To prevent your browser from logging your history the next time you use the internet, use incognito mode on your browser. Here’s how to open an incognito tab, depending on your browser:
- Google Chrome: Press Ctrl+Shift+N
- Mozilla Firefox: Click the menu button and then click New Private Window.
- Internet Explorer: Press Ctrl+Shift+P
- Safari: Press Command+Shift+N
OTHER WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF WHEN USING TECHNOLOGY
Abusers could have access to your email account(s). To be safe, open an email account your partner does not know about on a safe computer and use that account for safety planning and sensitive communications. It is a good idea to keep your monitored account active with non-critical emails in order to maintain appearances.
Cell phones can be a beacon, tracking your exact location in real time. Call and text history can also be retrieved by an abusive partner. Additionally, a location tracking device (GPS) can be placed on your car or in your purse. Consider purchasing a pay as you go phone that you keep in a safe place to allow you to make calls.
Only post things you want the public to see or know. Once it’s online, it’s no longer under your control. Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school. Keep your passwords private – there is no need to share passwords to social media accounts with anyone. If you have a friend in an abusive relationship, DO NOT post information about them without getting their permission. You could jeopardize their safety.