Sexual Assault Victim Advocates

Adult Sexual Assault Victim Advocate

The Adult Sexual Assault Victim Advocate provides comprehensive advocacy for sexual assault survivors over the age of 18, once a police report is made in Seattle. Whether charges are filed or not, CSS Advocates can provide advocacy and immediate safety planning for that person and their family, as soon as possible. The Advocate will help the survivor to navigate the complex criminal justice system and inform them of their rights in the criminal process.

The Adult Sexual Assault Victim Advocate coordinates with SPD Special Assault Unit Detectives and often assists them in establishing contact with the victim or providing the detectives with additional information provided from the victim for additional follow up/investigation.

The Adult Sexual Assault Victim Advocate works closely with the King County Prosecutor's Office Special Assault Unit and serves as liaison between the victim and the system, constantly communicating to the prosecutor and the court the victim's wishes/concerns in their case. The Advocate also ensures that the victim is kept informed about the case as the case proceeds through the system. The Advocate can accompany victims to court hearings as necessary (i.e. arraignments, SAPO and bond hearings) and/or speak for them at court. They also accompany the victim to any defense interviews, further interviews involving the prosecutor and assigned detective, trial testimony and sentencings. Post-conviction the advocate continues to support the victim with resources (counseling, etc.) and information (i.e. Dept. of Corrections or Sex Offender status).

The Advocate can provide the victim with community-based resources such as:

  • emergency shelter,
  • housing,
  • counseling,
  • legal assistance,
  • family law issues,
  • eviction concerns,
  • emergency financial assistance,
  • children/youth resources,
  • sexual assault resources,
  • crisis information contact info, and
  • drug and alcohol information.

Child Sexual Assault Victim Advocate

The Child Sexual Assault Victim Advocate provides advocacy for child victims of sexual and/or physical abuse. They will work with the victim, parents/guardians, CPS, or foster parent, depending on the circumstances of the case. The Advocate will assist in connecting the caregivers with community resources for counseling and support, ensure they are aware of their rights as crime victims, assist with Sexual Assault Protection Orders (SAPO), act as a liaison between family and detective/prosecutor, and attend interviews with the victim (detective interview, forensic interview, defense interview) and meetings with the prosecutor.

The Child Advocate works with the Seattle School District on best practices for better collaboration on child sexual assault cases that occur at the schools.  The advocate participates in monthly Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings with various community agencies to address follow-up issues for both King County Superior and Juvenile courts.

Both the Child and Adult SA Victim Advocates present to local nurses on SANE Exam practices and have presented to local businesses who want to have a better understanding of the investigative/criminal process and how they can best support their employees who are sexual assault victims. Both Advocates participate in monthly Sexual Assault Network meetings for our area.

OVW Grant Sexual Assault Victim Specialist

In October 2020 the Seattle Police Department was notified that we had received the grant award for “Serving the Underserved: Providing Victim Advocacy to Cold Case, Homeless, and Refugee Sexual Assault Victims” and admission to the Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program.  The project goal is to empower crime victims and increase public safety by supporting victims in crisis, connecting them to resources through community partners, informing them of their rights and assisting them in participating in the criminal justice system.

Key project activities include:

  • OVW Grant Victim Specialist is a term-limited position that will focus on three areas—

    1) the backlog of sexual assault kits, 2) work on developing materials, and 3) improving outreach to our Somali immigrant communities and sexual assault survivors who are unsheltered.
  • Provide specialized support for sexual assault victims requiring advocacy for “cold cases” that are reactivated based on rape kit results—

    Address the results of the backlogged rape kits by consulting with the SAU Detectives and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office to see if charges can be filed with the new information. Work to find and notify the victim that not only had the kit been tested but that a match had been found.  Provide trauma informed support to the survivors who are being reminded of a very painful event in their past. Ensure clear and efficient communication (with victims, prosecutors and law enforcement) regarding court proceedings, victim’s rights, and referrals to appropriate social service agencies are made.
  • Outreach to unsheltered survivors of sexual assault—

    Collaborate with community agencies, including emergency shelters and outreach workers, to connect unsheltered people to housing and critical resources, and to increase sexual assault awareness and reporting amongst our homeless community.

    Unsheltered sexual assault survivors will be provided a resource guide that includes crisis and counseling referrals, signs of trauma, victim advocacy information, protection order information, and a brief overview of the investigative and criminal process.

    The advocate will coordinate and maintain resources to help break down barriers, such as providing emergency cell phones to unsheltered sexual assault victims. This will provide them an opportunity to maintain contact with their advocate throughout the investigative and criminal proceedings.
  • Outreach to immigrant survivors of sexual assault—

    Identify and work to dismantle the unique barriers and challenges frequently present with immigrant survivors.  The Advocate will partner with immigrant and refugee agencies to support prevention and education services to decrease barriers to reporting sexual assault, particularly amongst our Somali community. Additionally, the Advocate will work to create brochures and materials that will be translated into various languages, including Somali, Spanish, and Mandarin.
  • Resource development—

    Ensure SA victim resources are current and available to clients; act as liaison between community agencies and the criminal justice system to build and maintain a solid network of collaborative response for crime victims that is accessible and responsive to special populations.

Human Services

Tanya Kim, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA, 98124-4215
Phone: (206) 386-1001

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The mission of the Seattle Human Services Department is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities.

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