Medical Advocacy

After a devastating event, the last thing anyone wants is to be alone. The trauma of sexual assault overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope effectively. Rapid crisis response and supportive medical advocacy assist survivors in coping with the traumatic aftermath of a sexual assault. Advocates respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year to hospital emergency rooms.

Following a sexual assault, a survivor will be asked by medical staff to give permission to perform a medical forensic exam.  Advocates meet the victim at the emergency room to provide support and to help the victim make informed decisions. An advocate provides an empathetic, non-judgmental presence. They interface with emergency room staff and local police to ensure a survivor understands all of their rights and is treated with compassion and justice. They can aid a survivor by assisting with paperwork for victim compensation applications. They ensure the survivor receives fresh clothing and transportation following the forensic exam. A medical advocate connects the survivor to discharge services, including counseling at Prairie Center.


Legal Advocacy

Prairie Center legal advocates are professionals who support survivors as they face the emotional, financial, medical, and legal effects of their assault. Advocates work to support the survivor as they deal with these challenges by providing them with emotional support, professional advice, helpful resources, and referrals to other professionals. The criminal justice system is complex. It can be intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming. Advocates ensure that the survivor does not feel overwhelmed by the criminal justice system; they help navigate the survivor and aid them with any issues that may occur along the way. Advocates often work for law enforcement, lawyers, courts, or private organizations, all of which have the same goal of helping crime victims.   Legal Advocates will explain your rights as a victim of a crime and provide information. 

Advocates coordinate the linkages between the Police, State’s Attorney, and Hospitals in order to streamline the delivery of services to a rape victim. Legal Advocates keep survivors informed of the status of their cases and keep them updated on whether the person accused of a crime in their case is arrested or released. Legal advocates are available to accompany the survivor to all court proceedings. They are able to represent the victim at preliminary legal hearings, so they do not miss work or school.  Legal advocates are available to assist survivors with Civil No Contact Orders and Victim Impact Statements.