Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors - Service Definitions
Court Accompaniment - In-person or virtual support, assistance, and advocacy during the sexual assault survivor's interaction with criminal justice professionals at prosecutor's offices and courts.
Law Enforcement Accompaniment - In-person or virtual support, assistance, and advocacy during the sexual assault survivor's interaction with criminal justice professionals at law enforcement offices.
Medical Accompaniment - In-person or virtual support, assistance, and advocacy during survivors of sexual assault interactions with hospital's medical or criminal justice professionals.
Advocacy & Assistance
Assistance with Crime Victims’ Compensation - Assistance provided to a survivor of sexual assault may include explaining Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) forms, processes, or completing the appropriate forms. Providing general information on CVC should be counted under “Information and Referral.”
Assistance with Restitution - Assistance with restitution includes statutory notice of right to restitution and written notification of the restitution process within ten days of indictment/information, assisting survivors of sexual assault with calculating losses; gathering documentation/receipts; reviewing victim impact statements for potential restitution requests; contacting CVC to determine if funds have been paid on survivor’s behalf, and providing restitution information and CVC reimbursement requests for the prosecution.
Assistance with Victim Impact Statements - Assistance provided to a survivor of sexual assault explaining the Victim Impact Statement identified in Article 56.03 Code of Criminal Procedure and completing the appropriate forms. Providing general information on Victim Impact Statements should be counted under “Information and Referral.”
Victim Advocacy (adult) - In-person or virtual assistance provided on behalf of a survivor of sexual assault with third parties (e.g., schools, employers, law enforcement agencies, housing authorities, health care professionals, prosecutors; offices, CVC).
Victim Support and Advocacy (child) - Supportive services and advocacy on behalf of child survivors of sexual abuse and their families typically as part of a multidisciplinary response.
Safety Planning - Creating a personalized, practical plan that can help a survivor of sexual assault anticipate dangerous situations and develop ways to keep themselves safe when they are in danger.
Joint Investigation Coordination - Key element and function of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) model that is premised on all MDT representatives contributing their knowledge, experience, and expertise for a coordinated, comprehensive, compassionate, and professional response to each case that meets the criteria for an MDT response, within both the criminal justice and child protection systems.
Notification of Criminal Justice Events - Communications from criminal justice agencies to survivors of sexual assault regarding their case, e.g., case status, arrest, court proceedings, case disposition, release.
Information and Referral - All forms of contact with survivors of sexual assault in which services and available support (provided by the agency or the community) are identified and offered.
Follow-up with Survivor - In-person, virtual, telephone, or written communication initiated by the advocate that occurs as a follow-up to an initial meeting with the survivor of sexual assault to provide or offer services such as emotional support, empathetic listening, and checking on progress.
Bilingual and Culturally Specific Services
Interpreter Services - Provision of a trained interpreter for a survivor of sexual assault who is deaf or hard of hearing or with limited English proficiency.
Availability of Services in Other Languages - Refers to specialized programming provided in the language preferred by a survivor of sexual assault (other than English). Programming should be offered by staff or volunteers who are fluent or native speakers of the language.
Culturally Specific Programming - Refers to specialized programming primarily directed toward racial and ethnic minority groups. Programming should be relevant to the community’s needs and provided by trained staff or volunteers.
Child/Dependent Care Assistance & Parenting Classes
Child or Dependent Care Assistance - Provide on-site child or dependent care and assistance arranging and paying for care. Specific to situations requiring a child or dependent care due to sexual abuse.
Parenting Classes - Refers to education for parents of child survivors of sexual abuse to support their child’s healing and prevent future abuse.
Crisis Intervention & Hotline
24-Hour Crisis Hotline - A telephone line answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week by trained staff or volunteers to provide immediate, confidential, non-judgmental support, crisis intervention, and information and referrals to survivors of sexual assault.
Crisis Intervention – In-person or via telecommunication assistance provided to a survivor of sexual assault to reduce acute distress, to begin stabilization, and to assist in determining the next steps.
On-Scene Crisis Response - Any services provided at the scene of a crisis by an advocate for a survivor of sexual assault.
Clothing/Immediate Needs - Provision of clothing or other immediate needs to a survivor after a sexual assault, e.g., hygiene products, blanket, etc.
Services for Persons with Disabilities
Specialized Services for Victims with Disabilities - Refers to specialized programming for persons with disabilities, emphasizing the voices and experiences of survivors of sexual assault with disabilities.
Emergency Financial Assistance
Emergency Financial Assistance - Funds provided directly to survivors of sexual assault for items needed immediately following a sexual assault and that would not otherwise be paid for by the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, for example, one-time transportation, one-time lodging, and a one-time food and gas card, etc.
Forensic or Medical Services
Forensic Examinations - An assessment of a survivor of sexual assault by a health care provider, ideally with specialized education and clinical experience in collecting forensic evidence and treating these patients. The assessment includes gathering information from the patient for the medical forensic history; an examination; coordinating treatment of injuries, documentation of biological and physical findings, and collection of evidence from the patient; documentation of results; information, treatment, and referrals for STIs, pregnancy, suicidal ideation, alcohol and substance abuse, and other non-acute medical concerns; and follow-up as needed to provide additional healing, treatment, or collection of evidence.
Forensic Interviews (child) - Evidentiary interviews with survivors of sexual assault conducted by a trained professional in a friendly environment. Interviews may be videotaped and allow for input from representatives of diverse agencies. One comprehensive interview is preferred to reduce the potential for further victim trauma. Results of the interview should be used not only for law enforcement and prosecution purposes but also for social services, personal advocacy, case management, and mental health purposes. Interviews should be conducted in the context of a multidisciplinary investigation and diagnostic team or in a specialized setting such as a child advocacy center.
Medical Evaluation (child) - Ensures specialized medical evaluations and treatment services are available and accessible to child survivors of alleged abuse and are coordinated as part of the multidisciplinary response.
Civil Legal Assistance by an Attorney (general) - Provided by a licensed attorney, those actions (other than tort actions) that, in the civil context, are reasonably necessary as a direct result of sexual assault victimization, e.g., issues related to housing, education, employment, health.
Civil Legal Assistance by an Attorney (immigration-related) - Provided by a licensed attorney, legal services related to the immigration issues of a sexual assault survivor that are reasonably necessary due to the sexual assault victimization, e.g., special visas such as VAWA self-petition, continued presence application, and other immigration relief.
Crime Victims’ Rights Assistance by Attorney - Provided by a licensed attorney, legal services that help victims assert their rights as victims in a criminal proceeding (other than criminal defense) directly related to the victimization, or otherwise to protect their safety, privacy, or other interests as victims in such a proceeding.
Emergency Legal Advocacy - Emergency Legal Advocacy refers to actions directly connected to sexual assault or abuse cases taken to ensure the health and safety of the victim. This includes filing Protection From Abuse orders, injunctions, elder abuse petitions, child abuse petitions, and other protective orders. Assistance with filing for emergency custody/visitation rights is included if directly connected to a sexual assault/abuse case.
Legal Advocacy - Provided by an advocate, typically with specialized training, to assist a survivor of sexual assault with civil and criminal legal issues arising from the victimization.
Protective Order (Assistance) - Legal advocacy or representation provided by program staff and staff attorneys to obtain protective orders for survivors of sexual assault; assistance may be provided by law enforcement personnel, prosecution staff, or other service providers. Services may be available at non-traditional locations and times.
Outreach & Prevention
Community Outreach - Includes but is not limited to public speeches, information booths, media interviews, public service announcements, newsletters, articles, editorials, and website visits conducted to generally inform the public about crime-related topics and available victim services.
Prevention - Includes education and other activities (e.g., community mobilization and social norms change) to prevent sexual violence. May include awareness activities (education to increase knowledge of the dynamics of sexual violence, its causes and consequences, and of services available through the sexual assault program), risk-reduction education (efforts that focus on reducing the risk of an individual becoming a victim of sexual violence), and primary prevention activities (preventing sexual violence by working to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors of first-time perpetration of sexual violence).
SAFE-Ready Facility - Texas Health and Human Services Commission designate a health care facility as a sexual assault forensic exam-ready facility, or SAFE-ready facility, if the facility notifies HHSC that the facility employs or contracts with a sexual assault forensic examiner or uses a telemedicine system of sexual assault forensic examiners to provide consultation to a licensed nurse or physician when conducting a sexual assault forensic medical examination.
Shelter & Housing
Shelter - Provide lodging for a survivor of sexual assault, including but not limited to emergency housing assistance.
Transitional Housing - Between 6 and 24 months of temporary housing with support services for survivors of sexual assault.
Permanent Supportive Housing - Affordable housing for survivors of sexual assault tied to supportive services with no time limit on how long people can stay. They are typically restricted to persons with a disabling condition that makes it difficult or impossible to live without additional support.
Supervised Visitation & Exchanges
Supervised Visitation - Refers to contact between a non-custodial parent and one or more children in the presence of a third person responsible for observing the interactions and ensuring the safety of those involved. Specific to situations requiring a supervised visitation due to sexual assault/abuse.
Supervised/Safe Exchanges - Refers to the supervision of the transfer of the child from one parent to the other. Supervision is limited to the exchange or transfers only. Most frequently, precautions are taken to assure that the two parents or other individuals exchanging the child do not come into contact with one another. Specific to situations requiring a supervised exchange due to sexual assault/abuse.
Therapy (Group) - Groups for survivors of sexual assault facilitated by a licensed professional and including therapeutic counseling and psycho-educational content.
Therapy (Adult) - Mental health counseling and care for an adult survivor of sexual assault, including, but not limited to, outpatient therapy/counseling provided by a person who meets professional standards to provide these services in the jurisdiction in which the care is administered.
Therapy (Child/Family) - Mental health counseling and care related to sexual abuse for a child or with a family to benefit a child, including, but not limited to, out-patient therapy/counseling provided by a person who meets professional standards to provide these services in the jurisdiction in which the care is administered.
Support Groups - Groups for survivors of sexual assault led by trained staff, volunteers, or peer facilitators covering educational material or issues brought up by the group.
Substance Use Services - Inpatient or outpatient clinical treatment for substance abuse for survivors of sexual assault.
Transportation - Arranging and providing transportation for a survivor of sexual assault for planned activities to one or more destinations in a single trip or an unexpected crisis to or from locations such as medical facilities or police stations.