Survivor Advocacy

Advocates provide intervention on behalf of a specific individual or on behalf of all survivors. Intervention may take the form of interactions with individuals, agencies, organizations, or groups that focus on promoting responses and services that address the needs and rights of survivors. Sexual Violence Response advocates for survivors of stalking, harassment, and sexual, domestic, intimate partner, and gender-based violence.

  • Examples of advocacy:
    • Empowering every client to make their own informed and personal decisions
    • Providing nonjudgmental, trauma-informed support and information
    • Explaining to medical and legal proceedings to a survivor and explaining why procedures, tests, or exams might be requested
    • Discussing a survivor's rights and options regarding medical, legal, and University adjudication procedures

Sexual Violence Response advocates are available 24/7 year-round by calling 212-854-HELP (4657). Advocates provide confidential services to survivors and co-survivors of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, relationship abuse, family violence, and other types of harassment.

Survivor Advocates

Survivor advocates are confidential, professional staff members certified through the New York State Department of Health to provide crisis intervention and safety planning to survivors of violence. The survivor advocate’s role is to help the survivor consider their options and provide them with the information necessary to make informed decisions. Once a decision is made, the advocate is responsible for supporting the survivor in the implementation of that decision.

The primary role of an advocate is to provide objective, empathetic, knowledgeable, and supportive intervention that will assist a survivor, co-survivor, or bystander in securing the necessary information, services, referrals, and follow-up care that may be required based on the individual’s experience.

Advocates can accompany student survivors to the New York City Police Department, local hospitals, University departments, or other relevant agencies. They can provide support and information about filing a complaint with Columbia's Gender-Based Misconduct Office, local law enforcement, or civil courts.

Peer Advocates

Peer advocates are confidential student volunteers who have gone through extensive training and have been certified through the New York State Department of Health to provide crisis intervention to survivors of violence. The peer advocate’s role is to help the survivor consider their options and provide the survivor with the information necessary to make informed decisions.

Peer advocates participate in the on-call support of the Sexual Violence Response Helpline (212-854-HELP/4357) and also sign up for office shifts offering peer-to-peer support. Peer advocates can provide accompaniment during on-call hours to local hospitals, law enforcement, and campus public safety, and connect the campus community to resources (both on and off-campus) and maintain their confidentiality.

Peer advocates can also provide advocacy support to student groups hosting events surrounding sexual or gender-based violence. Apply to be a Peer Advocate here!