What is a Victim Advocate?
What is an advocate?
The victim advocate at Grand Valley State University is a professional staff person who has participated in extensive training through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Their role is to provide nonjudgmental, private support to student survivors of gender-based violence. Their role is to provide private support in that they will not release personally identifiable information without consent. Advocates specially trained to help students navigate options and services on campus and in the community. Access to an advocate after gender-based violence can play a critical role in the healing process of a victim/survivor.
What does an advocate do?
Advocates are available to respond to student survivors of gender-based violence with empathetic support and options. As an advocate, they can provide private support over the phone or in person. Available support includes:
- Referrals to counseling and other supportive services on campus and in the community
- Education about medical options and procedures, including evidence collection
- Information about and referrals to legal advocacy, including Personal Protection Orders
- Support and assistance in reporting an assault to Campus Police, if you choose
- Support and assistance in navigating GVSU conduct system, if you choose
- Support and assistance in participating in a Title IX investigation
- Support and assistance in academic, housing, employment, or other accommodations
- Assistance for significant others and friends of victim/survivors of gender/based violence
When can I call an advocate?
You have options, and you are not alone. Services through the campus advocate are available Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. To set up a time to speak with an advocate call the Center for Women & Gender Equity at 616-331-2748. If the Center is closed and you need to speak to someone right away, please call GVSU Counseling Center at 616-331-3266, YWCA private 24-hour Helpline at 616-454-YWCA (9922), GVSU Police at 616-331-3255 or for an emergency dial 911.
Who can call an advocate?
Any Grand Valley State University community member can call an advocate. Victim/survivors can call on their own, or someone can call on their behalf.
Advocates provide private support. This means that talking with an advocate DOES NOT start a formal judicial or criminal process unless you want to access those options. To set up a time to speak with an advocate, you can expect the following:
- Call the Center for Women & Gender Equity at 616-331-2748. A student worker will the answer the phone.
- Inform the student worker that you are a GVSU student and that you would like to set up a time to meet with an advocate to discuss a "private matter." You have control over whether or not you share your name or any other information.
- Based on your availability you will work with the student worker to be scheduled to meet with an advocate as soon as they are available Monday-Friday between 8am-5pm.
- When you arrive at the Center for Women & Gender Equity for your meeting with the advocate check in with the student worker at the front desk informing them that you have a meeting schedule with an advocate - You may bring a friend/partner with you.
- You will be asked to take a seat and the advocate will be notified that you have arrived.
- An advocate will show you back to their office where you are able to share with an advocate as they are a private resource.