Adolescents between the ages of 13 to 17 in DC who have been sexually assaulted have rights under DC law, one of which is the right to an advocate. Safe Shores Youth Advocacy Specialists are there to help teens understand all of their options and support them in whatever choice they make. Some of the support a Youth Advocacy Specialist can provide include referrals to medical care, mental health care, or legal support. Youth Advocacy Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to the teen’s emergency needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Youth Advocacy
What Do Safe Shores Youth Advocacy Specialists Do?
Teens have the right to have an advocate with them during moments that might feel scary or confusing. A Youth Advocacy Specialist can provide information, options, referrals, safety planning, and emotional support. The Youth Advocacy Specialist can provide support and information over the phone if a teen is unsure of what steps they want to take.
If a teen reports the assault to law enforcement and needs to be interviewed, they can choose to have their Youth Advocacy Specialist with them. If a teen wants to get care or treatment at a hospital, they can choose to have their Youth Advocacy Specialist with them to provide support during the process.
How Can Teens Get Connected to a Youth Advocacy Specialist?
Teens can request a Youth Advocacy Specialist on their own by calling or texting 844-443-5732 or chatting through the DC Victim Hotline. The DC Victim Hotline will get teens connected to a Youth Advocacy Specialist at Safe Shores.
If an assault has been reported to law enforcement, or if a teen seeks medical care related to a sexual assault at a hospital, the teen will be offered a Youth Advocacy Specialist by law enforcement or medical professionals.
What If a Teen Declines a Youth Advocacy Specialist, But Then Changes Their Mind?
The right to a Youth Advocacy Specialist is not a one-time thing, so even if a teen does not want a Youth Advocacy Specialist the first time they are offered one, they can request a Youth Advocacy Specialist at any time.
DC Sexual Assault Response Team and Survivor Feedback
Safe Shores Youth Advocacy Specialists are part of the DC Sexual Assault Response Team, which also includes medical professionals, law enforcement professionals, child welfare professionals, and legal professionals.
Teens who have experienced sexual assault have the option to provide feedback about their experience with any member of the Sexual Assault Response Team through this Survivor Feedback Form or use the following QR code to open it on your smartphone.