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Message From the DirectorAbout This GuideResources
Publication Date: April 2009
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Mandated Services

Forcing a victim to accept sexual assault crisis services is inconsistent with the survivor-centered empowerment model. The model assumes that a survivor freely chooses to seek such assistance and is motivated to do so by a genuine and strong interest in getting help to address and resolve sexual assault issues. For example, a victim who is mandated by child protective services or under a court order to receive assistance is not doing so of her own free will. Under such conditions, the victim may believe that anything she says or shares with the sexual assault victim advocate will be reported to the mandating agency or official.

In these cases, the advocate must work with the victim to establish trust and set boundaries as to what will and will not be reported back to those who must know that services have indeed been received. At best, that information should be limited to the fact that the victim has received certain services on certain dates and has fulfilled the mandate imposed. Developing interagency agreements to specify what information will be shared and how that information will be shared—on an overall agency basis versus case-by-case—can help to promote respect for victims' confidentiality and support the advocate in establishing trust with mandated clients. For example, one solution is to develop a sheet that the victim can carry with her and turn into the ordering agency that is signed by the advocate for each service. This puts the victim in charge of the information and prevents any unauthorized release of information.

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