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Publication Date: April 2009
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Crimes Against Advocates and Centers

Some of the most difficult cases may occur when a victim is involved in a crime committed on a sexual assault crisis advocate or center property. Because the identity of a person receiving services at a center is confidential, the center may struggle with how to report the crime to police, apprehend the perpetrator, or seek the return of stolen property. The argument can be made that a victim who commits a crime against a staff member or on center property waives the right to confidentiality regarding identification as a person who has received services at the center. The center can include this in its confidentiality policy, which all advocates should review with each victim at initial contact.

Not all individuals who contact sexual assault crisis centers as victims are entitled to confidential services. Take into consideration whether the individual is (1) a victim, (2) seeking and using services, and (3) abiding by established standards of conduct (e.g., laws). Sometimes individuals pose as victims and make threatening or sexually harassing telephone calls to sexual assault crisis centers and advocates. A victim service center staff member or volunteer should inform the caller that a report of the call will be made to the proper authorities, including police. Also, the staff member or volunteer should immediately notify a supervisor upon receiving threatening or harassing communication.

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