Survivor Advocacy Program Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked question regarding the Survivor Advocacy Program. Updated October 21st, 2015.

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Survivor Advocacy Program Updates

Survivor Advocacy Program to move under Division of Student Affairs

From staff reports

 

As part of a comprehensive plan designed to increase support services for survivors of sexual assault, stalking and dating and relationship violence, the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program will soon be part of the Division of Student Affairs.

 

The move comes after months of careful assessment and thoughtful consideration for the best placement for the program, which was launched in 2010 through grant funding secured by the Women’s Center. OHIO assumed financial support of the program in October 2015 when the grant expired. Shortly after, the program’s coordinator left Ohio University for another opportunity. At that time, leaders within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Executive Vice President and Provost’s office and the Division of Student Affairs began discussing the best model for services and the most beneficial home for the program.

 

“Staff in the Division of Student Affairs are crisis experts and advocates for our students,” said Jenny Hall-Jones, interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “It makes sense that the Survivor Advocacy Program be in our division because handling crisis, connecting people with resources and student advocacy is part of our core mission.”

 

The move will mean a few changes:

 

  • The name will be simply Survivor Advocacy Program or SAP. It was formerly the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program or OUSAP.
  • Two full-time, licensed individuals will staff the program; a director of the program and a survivor advocate.
  • An after-hours hotline will be staffed by licensed professionals who are trained to connect survivors with resources such as a survivor advocate, medical or mental health professionals on a 24/7 basis.
  • Student advocates who previously worked with the OUSAP coordinator may now aid the efforts of the Sexual Assault Prevention Educator as peer educators. This position is under the Campus Involvement Center within the Division of Student Affairs. 
  • The Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program (OUSAOP), which provides services to survivors in surrounding counties, but does not provide services to Ohio University students. The Division of Students Affairs will not oversee OUSAOP, which is run separately.


Students who seek advocacy services can still expect confidential, caring support services in the same location: Lindley Hall. The space was renovated in the past year specifically to house the Survivor Advocacy Program.

 

“We made sure the renovations to Lindley Hall included a private, welcoming space for survivors to seek support,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit. “We want to continue to utilize that area as we move forward with these changes.”

 

At this time, it is expected that the two full-time positions will be posted this spring, and the program will complete its move to Student Affairs in time for the opening of fall semester 2016.

 

It is also important to note that Counseling and Psychological Services and Campus Care will continue to remain fully equipped to provide survivors with an outlet for confidential, privileged communication and support as this program transition advances in the coming months.

 

 

SIDEBAR CONTENT:

 

Privilege and Confidentiality

 

Much conversation has taken place about the role of confidentiality in the survivor advocacy process. In compliance with federal Title IX guidelines, Ohio University exempts employees of the SAP from the requirement to report sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and relationship violence, from the university process outlined in Policy 03.004.  

 

Under the new program model SAP employees, as licensed professionals, will also have the protection of privileged communication with clients. This privilege allows those two positions to learn of instances of sexual assault without being mandated to report it to law enforcement, except in certain situations required by Ohio law, such as when there is a report of child abuse, elder abuse or information about threats of imminent harm to self or others.   

 

Interim survivor advocate position posted

November 17th 2015

 

Ohio University is now seeking candidates for the position of interim survivor advocate on the Athens Campus. The position, which reports to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, will fill the role left by the departure of OHIO’s previous Survivor Advocacy Program coordinator. The survivor advocate position was constructed following analysis of the program’s caseload, client needs and service as a University liaison. The survivor advocate is a confidential reporter and is not required to report allegations of sexual misconduct under Policy 03.004.

The interim position carries an appointment through June 30, 2016, and a search will take place for a permanent position. Theresponsibilities of the interim survivor advocate include, but are not limited to:

  • Engaging in outreach and providing survivor advocacy services, including referrals to students of Ohio University who have been impacted by stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assault on or off campus, as well as students who are dealing with past trauma.
  • At the request of survivors, participating in meetings with the Title IX office (the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance), Community Standards, law enforcement investigation and court proceedings.
  • Responding to crisis line phone calls.
  • Responding to referrals from O’Bleness Hospital to support survivors during sexual assault evidence collection.

Suitable candidates for the position will have a master’s degree in social work, counseling or a related field. They must be a licensed social worker or carry a counseling license, as well as three to five years of experience in their field and one to two years of management experience.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion requested a waiver in order to expedite hiring when an appropriate individual has been recognized. 

“With this new position description we are optimistic we will be able to find an individual who can fill this role and provide these very important services to our campus community,” said Shari Clarke, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion. “It was crucial to move forward with filling this position, while still evaluating the role and how it can best serve the needs of our student survivors.”

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Updated October 21st, 2015

 

Is OUSAP going away? 

No. Ohio University is committed to this program. The University has taken short term measures to address what have been identified as immediate needs. The next steps are focused on strengthening and fortifying the program and the services it provides to clients.

 

In order for there to be confidentiality in the delivery of survivor advocacy services, we are searching for a licensed, credential individual to serve as a temporary program coordinator during this transition period. 

 

Are there confidential resources on campus anymore?

Confidential resources exist on campus through Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) and Campus Care.

 

It is important to know there is no wait at CPS for someone in crisis and there is no cost to someone in crisis to use CPS (ie. initial intakes and emergencies after-hours have no charges). CPS has no additional costs to first-year students as all services are included in The OHIO guarantee. Sophomores, juniors and seniors who have paid the wellbeing fee can access CPS for on-going services.

 

If someone calls CPS during normal business hours, a receptionist will answer the phone and encourage them to come to walk-in hours. After hours, the phone is answered by a licensed therapist. 

 

Is the University still in compliance with Title IX requirements?

Yes. The U.S. Department of Education’s written guidance about Title IX compliance allows for the designation of confidential resources for survivors. Ohio University has maintained access to confidential resources through this transition with counselors and staff at the Counseling and Psychological Services and Campus Care. Any survivor who contacts SAP by telephone or website will see referral information to CPS and a 24//7 Crisis Intervention Service (740-593-1616) where the survivor will speak to a licensed and trained counselor.

 

In addition, it is important to note that a student who reports sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking to the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance, Ohio University’s Title IX Office, has the right to request confidentiality.  Ohio University will make every effort to honor a complainant’s request for confidentiality.  In circumstances where there is risk of further violence against the complainant, or behavior that puts the larger campus community at risk, it may not be possible for the Title IX office to grant confidentiality. It should be noted that honoring the request for confidentiality may limit ability of Ohio University to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the respondent. This is because the respondent must be informed of the details of the alleged violation and must be given an opportunity to respond in an adjudicative process prior to disciplinary action.

 

Complainants who pursue action through the university adjudicative process will receive protection from retaliation, may request a no-contact directive, and will be offered appropriate academic and housing accommodation. 

 

Was there a lapse in confidential resources between the program coordinator's departure and the Monday, Oct. 19 announcement of transition plans for OUSAP?

No. The OUSAP hotline was set to automatically refer people to the Counseling and Psychological Services Crisis Intervention Service (740-593-1616) over the weekend between Friday (the program coordinator's last day) and Monday (the day of the announcement). With this referral in place, there was no lapse in confidential resources available to students.

 


An Update on the Survivor Advocacy Program

Shari Clarke, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, shared this open letter with the University community on October 23, 2015.

 

Click Here to Read the Open Letter to the University Community

 

 


A Message from the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Regarding the Survivor Advocacy Program 

The following message was sent to the Ohio University community on October 19, 2015.

 

Dear Ohio University Community:

Supporting survivors of sexual assault and rape, relationship violence and stalking is an important issue and priority of our campuses. That is why I believe it is important to share with you a transition that is taking place with our Survivor Advocacy Program (OUSAP). Delaney Anderson has accepted a new position outside Ohio University and will no longer serve as the program coordinator for OUSAP. We thank Delaney for her service and wish her well in her new endeavor.
 
Providing needed support and counseling services to survivors is our first priority through this transition.
 
To be sure, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion maintains its financial commitment to this program and will work to fill the void created by Delaney’s departure. We are undertaking a search for a licensed and credentialed program coordinator for the Survivor Advocacy Program. Having a licensed and credentialed program coordinator is essential to providing the services and resources offered by OUSAP. A plan has been developed to connect survivors of sexual assault and rape, relationship violence and stalking to essential counseling and support services during this interim period. The plan is as follows:

  • Referral resources and information will continue to be provided. Referrals for confidential, privileged communication and support will be made to Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services and CPS’s 24/7 Crisis Intervention Service at 740-593-1616.

  • Dr. Alicia Chavira-Prado, special assistant to the vice provost for diversity and inclusion, will provide administrative leadership of the program, including referral and resource information, to individuals who seek services from OUSAP.

  • Pending clients of OUSAP will be referred to Counseling and Psychological Services.

  • In keeping with our current protocol, individuals who wish to file a police report will be referred to Ohio University Police Department or Athens Police Department as is appropriate. Individuals who wish to file a complaint under University policy 03.004 will be referred to the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance.

  • The OUSAP Crisis Line will include a recorded message directing callers to Ohio University’s Counseling and Psychological Services and the 24/7 Crisis Intervention Service.

 
We appreciate the dedication our graduate students and volunteers have shown to survivors in our community but because we do not currently have a licensed and credentialed program coordinator on staff to offer supervised support services, graduate assistants with OUSAP appointments will be temporarily reassigned. Graduate assistantships and stipends will not be impacted. The undergraduate peer advocate program will be placed on hold until a new licensed and credentialed program coordinator has been identified.
 
This plan is but a first step in continuing our commitment to connect survivors with support, health, and wellbeing resources. We will continue to communicate with the students, faculty and staff of Ohio University throughout this process.
 
Sincerely,
 
Shari J. Clarke, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

“This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-WA-AX-0003 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/ exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.”