Advocacy Training and Resources

Resources for New Advocates
  • NYSCASA 40-Hour Training for New Advocates: This link will take you to the training registration on our external site, NYSCASA’s Coalition Manager. Please register for the advocacy training there! Please note that this training has not been approved by the NYS Department of Health and DOH certification will not be provided upon completion. However, if you wish to obtain a certificate of completion, please email to request one.
  • “Foundations of Advocacy” Training Manual: Created by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), this resource offers tools to equip new advocates with core knowledge and skills for supporting survivors of sexual violence.
  • “Support for Survivors: Training for Sexual Assault Counselors/Advocates” Training Manual: Created by VALOR (formerly California Coalition Against Sexual Assault), this new resource offers tools to equip new advocates with core knowledge and skills for supporting survivors, as well as information about how we move forward to address the inequities in our communities, in order to prevent and end sexual violence. The manual is available in English and Spanish.
  • Advocacy Information Packet: Created by the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, this resource is a collection of articles and tools covering a range of topics about advocacy with an emphasis on work with survivors of intimate partner violence. These materials offer information that is critical to clarifying and strengthening the role of advocates and their work to end violence against women and other survivors. The goal is to create a basic understanding about the role of advocates, the nature of advocacy and some key issues integral to effective advocacy. These materials can be helpful for new advocate orientation, in-services, cross-trainings and public education events.
  • The Principles of Advocacy: A Guide for Sexual Assault Advocates: Created by Mending the Sacred Hoop, this resource is a guide for sexual assault advocates working with Native/Indigenous survivors.
Deepen Your Advocacy Skills
  • Trauma-Informed Care: This handout provides a brief overview and framework for understanding the impact of trauma on survivors, communities, and those who serve them—and how this builds strong organizations and sexual assault services that are responsive to those needs.
  • Building Cultures of Care: This guide provides information to support sexual assault services programs in strengthening their organizational and individual responses to survivors of sexual violence through the use of a trauma-informed approach. It provides an overview of the core principles of trauma-informed care and guiding points and questions to help organizations build cultures grounded in the philosophy of trauma-informed service delivery. (Available in Spanish: La Cultura De La Atención Integral)
  • Listen Up! Active Listening as Advocacy: Through interactive scenarios and discussion this course will introduce you to the key principles and various active listening skills we can use to enhance the ways in which we connect with and serve survivors of sexual violence. The course also offers additional handouts with scenarios and exercises for practicing our active listening skills.
  • Listening to Survivors: Essential Steps for the Intake Process: This tool assists dual/multi-service programs with restructuring their intake forms and procedures to align with approaches that are more survivor-focused and trauma-informed. Recommendations include building forms and procedures from a place of establishing relationship, safety, trust, cultural relevance, choice, collaboration and empowerment with survivors.
  • Comprehensive Services for Survivors of Sexual Violence: This guide explores how dual/multi-service programs can provide comprehensive services that address the entire scope of survivors’ experiences—going beyond immediate crisis response to supporting a wide range of both immediate and long-term issues that affect survivors’ whole selves. (Available in Spanish: Servicios integrales para los sobrevivientes de violencia sexual)
  • Throw Away the Menu: Broadening Advocacy: This resource recommends dual/multi-service programs reconsider the concept of advocacy to be more responsive to the diverse and wide-ranging needs of survivors of sexual violence, and re-envision advocacy to expand beyond the care and support provided on helplines, in courtrooms, or hospitals, to also include the critical long-term emotional support survivors need in a range of contexts as they heal. (Available in Spanish: Adiós al menú: cómo ampliar el alcance de la intercesoría)
  • It Matters! How Defining Sexual Violence Defines Advocacy Programs: How advocacy programs view and define sexual violence shapes their identity and impacts the concrete ways they offer services and speak to the community. This resource explores how by widening our view of sexual violence, we can open our doors to a wider diversity of survivors.
  • Listening to Our Communities: Assessment Toolkit: This toolkit focuses on key tools and skills for conducting community assessments in order to strengthen services for sexual assault survivors. It is written specifically for multi-service programs, but will be useful for most victim service programs.
  • Strengthening Our Roots: Listening & Learning from Survivors & Supporters: This report, prepared by Sikh Family Center, compiles the qualitative data from 2 focus groups and 3 individual storytelling interviews facilitated by SFC in the Bay Area, California between November 2016 and January 2017. These groups and interviews consisted of survivors of gender-based violence, specifically family violence, as well as community members who regularly work (formally or informally) with survivors of violence.
Cultural Competency, Cultural Humility, and Cultural Safety

Sexual violence affects people regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual or gender identity, religious affiliation, age, immigration status, and ability/disability. We also know that culturally specific factors can contribute to the incidence of sexual violence and affect whether people have access to support and care in the aftermath of violence.

“Cultural competency” builds awareness of the effects of culture at all levels, including policy, governance, practice, and access. It is an ongoing process and commitment, rather than a discrete set of practices.

“Cultural humility” is a process of self-reflection and discovery in order to build honest and trustworthy relationships. It involves ongoing self-exploration combined with a willingness to learn from others. It helps us recognize our cultural biases and realize that we can’t know everything about a culture.

“Cultural safety” means creating an environment that is spiritually, socially, emotionally, and physically safe for all people, where there is no denial of identity, of who they are, or what they need. Cultural safety moves beyond the concept of cultural sensitivity or cultural competency to account for oppression, power imbalances, institutional discrimination, and the effects of colonization.

Culturally Specific Advocacy

Culturally specific advocacy rests on a foundation of designing programs to serve ethnic- or identity-specific groups taking into account their identity, language, history, and contexts of historical marginalization and oppression; with advocates drawing on their knowledge of, and connection to, their community’s social, political, cultural, and gender issues.

Culturally-specific community-based-organizations address community-specific types and dynamics of gender-based violence, working to counteract various forms of stigma within communities and discrimination within systems, recognizing the importance of connection to community and the healing value of cultural and/or spiritual practices, collaborating with systems so they are not barriers but gateways to services, and identifying and addressing historical trauma.

Learn more about culturally specific advocacy:

 Get Help

If you have been sexually assaulted, call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.


 Find Crisis Centers

Search our program directory to find a rape crisis center in your area.


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