An advocate can meet individually with victims of crime, violence or abuse to offer judgment-free support to victims and help them process their experience and regain control of their lives. During this meeting the advocate will listen, empathize, and empower their client. An advocate will not force or pressure the client to discuss or disclose any information they are not comfortable sharing and will create a safe and accepting environment.
An advocate can also assist a client by exploring options, assessing for risk factors for increased violence, safety planning, and providing referrals to additional resources.
An advocate can confidentially explore the circumstances of the crime or abusive situation with the victim and assist the victim in stabilizing and understanding the emotions resulting from the event or situation. Advocates provide trauma-informed care and can help you understand your reactions and feelings in relation to what has happened to you.
Individual and emotional support by an advocate is not the same as counseling or therapy. The work with an advocate is focused on navigating processes and providing support related to their victimization, while counseling is focused on long-term processing of the trauma, addressing mental health issues or diagnoses, and providing ongoing support. Victim advocates can provide survivors referrals for counseling resources to get the mental health care that they deserve.