Response Advocate

Title:                    Response Advocate
Program:             Sexual Assault Response Services (SARS)
Reports to:          Program Director
SARS works with clients of all ages who have been victims of sexual or physical violence. Staff and trained advocates respond to the Antelope Valley Hospital, Palmdale Regional Medical Center or Kaiser Permanente 24 hours 7 days a week to assist victims of sexual and physical violence. Advocates respond to the victim and stays with the victim from entry to the emergency room, law enforcement and forensic interview, forensic exam and through recovery. The advocate provides emotional support, resources, and referrals, ensuring the victim’s rights are not violated, follow-ups and one on one counseling. Advocates respond to approximately 300 emergency room calls each year.

SARS is not only comprised of the sexual assault response service but the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) team, California Department of Health College Sexual Assault Prevention team (CDPH) and the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). Each program has their own niche yet is firm in the same foundation of the prevention of sexual assault. Each program works closely with Antelope Valley Hospital Forensic Services team, has a 24 hour 7 days a week hotline, participates in community education and offers 1-1 crisis counseling.

Essential Job Functions
  • Assist with 24 hour sexual assault hotline and responsibilities
  • Respond to sexual assault cases for adults and youth – minimum three shifts per week
  • Provide referrals, assessments, crisis intervention, advocacy, follow-up services for victims of sexual/intimate partner violence; initial follow-up must be completed within 72 hours
  • Work with first responders (emergency room personnel, law enforcement, etc.), district attorney’s office and other outside agencies in ensuring that victims receive appropriate services
  • Collaborate with community partners and law enforcement to improve sexual assault victim response
  • Provide support and advocacy to victim at hospital before, during and after the medical forensic examination and reporting process
  • Develop rapport and maintain regular communication with victims to assess their need for supportive services and/or make modifications to reporting options, safety planning and service referrals
  • Refer victims to appropriate internal and external services to include: medical treatment, compensation assistance, legal support, therapeutic needs, shelter, social and educational needs
  • Enhance and build resources to meet the needs of sexual assault victims
  • Work collaboratively with SART Coordinator and Program Director to prepare and distribute sexual assault prevention/intervention material to the community
  • Accompany victims to hearings in the criminal justice, civil justice and administrative justice systems to support and advocate, as needed
  • Co-facilitate and/ or conduct groups structured to the needs of sexual assault victims
  • Document and maintain confidential case files
  • Provide case management support to survivors
  • Ensure all victim documentation is submitted accurately and in a timely manner
  • Provide advocacy education to community and partner agencies
  • Complete weekly, monthly and quarterly reports as requested by Supervisor and/or Finance, Administration
  • Engage effectively and constructively with the Program Director to make program refinements in the best interests of the program
  • Participate and assist with outreach events
  • Attend agency and program meetings
  • Attend trainings and continuing education activities as assigned
  • Adhere to agency policies and procedures including confidentiality, child abuse reporting, and code of ethics
  • Additional tasks, projects and or responsibilities as assigned by Supervisor not outlined but which are an important part of the agency’s goals and/or program outcomes.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  • Knowledge and understanding of the concepts of Harm Reduction, Trauma Informed Care and the dynamics of sexual assault victims
  • Knowledge of issues facing sexual assault victims (e.g. substance abuse, mental health, human trafficking and immigration)
  • Knowledge of resources to assist sexual assault victims throughout Los Angeles County
  • Knowledge and understanding of policy, systems, and local programs that impact sexual assault victims
  • Knowledge of resources including legal, medical, housing, educational and social service agencies and other resources in the community
  • Must have knowledge of the dynamics of sexual assault, victim advocacy and care
  • Must be able to exercise initiative, independent good judgment, flexibility, discretion, and solid decision making
  • Must be able to successfully manage multiple priorities, meet deadlines, adjust to changing circumstances, and demonstrate confidence working with diverse stakeholders
  • Ability to deescalate aggressive/agitated individuals
  • Actively promote positive, nurturing interactions between individuals
  • Ability to handle common problems without Supervisor intervention while knowing when Supervisor participation is warranted
  • Work effectively under conditions of limited supervision, high stress and rapidly changing situations and circumstances
  • Able to take appropriate steps to deal with emergency situations with the goal of maintaining the safety of all individuals
  • Ability to respond quickly and effectively to individuals who may be ill, using substances, lack of personal care in crisis situations and/or potentially hostile situations
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize strong judgement and interpersonal skills to manage sensitive interactions including with those who may be in distress with acute illness, substance use issues, co-morbidity of behavioral and physical health issues
  • Promote cooperation and commitment within a team to achieve goals and objective, collaborate with team members, sharing ideas and differences openly, be receptive to new ideas and adapt to change as necessary
  • Project a professional demeanor and a high level of professionalism when dealing with sensitive matters
  • Considers impact of personal and professional choices; consistently make decisions in keeping with organizational values and Supervisor’s direction
  • Strict confidentiality must be observed as it relates to client information, agency business, program decisions and all other personal information
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to follow through from beginning to end on tasks
  • Outstanding communication skills, both written and oral; must communicate professionally and positively with participants, co-workers, management, community partners, employers, landlords, and other service providers
  • Proficient with office communication equipment and machines (telephone, copier, calculator, fax machine, personal computer, laptop, computer printer and scanner)
  • Proficient in use of laptop/desktop computer, Microsoft Windows and Office software programs (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and Google drive
  • Strong time management skills and the ability to multi-task and prioritize in a fast-paced environment, while exercising sound judgment
  • Ability to report to work in-person, and respond to emergency rooms and/or hospitals Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm
  • Ability to be flexible and participate in community outreach and events as needed on weekends and/or holidays
  • Able to respond to emergencies some evenings and weekends as necessary
  • Use of a personal vehicle may be required to travel in and around Antelope Valley and/or Los Angeles County
  • Maintain professional boundaries and work collaboratively with participants, volunteers and staff
  • Accountability – be on time for scheduled shifts
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Bilingual Preferred but not required
Qualifications & Experience
  • High School Graduate or equivalent
  • Associate degree in Human Services related field strongly preferred
  • One year experience working with victims of sexual assault or working in victim advocacy and victim advocacy services
  • One year experience in social services setting; preferably working as an employee or volunteer in domestic violence and/or sexual assault victim services
  • Experience working with trauma survivors
Agency Requirements
  • Must have a valid California Driver’s License
  • Reliable transportation
  • Auto Insurance
  • Clean driving record
  • Employee will be required to complete a TB test, Background check, drug screen (employment pending on drug screen, background check and DMV report review), 72-hour Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault training and CPR/First Aid certification 
Physical Demands & Work Conditions
An employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job must meet physical demands described:
  • May be in contact with individuals in crisis who may be ill, using substances and/or not be attentive to personal hygiene and safety for themselves
  • May experience unpleasant sensory demands associated with an individual’s use of alcohol and drugs, and lack of personal care
  • May experience extreme crisis situations, and potentially hostile situations; must be ready to respond quickly and effectively
An employee is required to:
  • Walk and climb stairs; Handle, grasp and feel objects and equipment; Reach with hands and arms; extend both arms above the head and/or reach below the waist; Communicate ideas and information verbally and written word; Be able to move oneself quickly and easily from place to place; Repeat various motions with hands, wrists, fingers; Climb on stools, steps and/or ladders; Be subject to outside environmental conditions, including but not limited to: Rain, heat, wind.
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions. If accommodation(s) are required, employee must inform Human Resources by the first week of employment. If an accommodation is not required at the time of employment, but is later required, you must inform Human Resources at the time it is needed.
  • Health
  • Employee Assistance Plan
  • Paid Sick
  • Dental
  • Paid Vacation
  • Vision
  • Cafeteria 125 Plan
  • Personal Days
  • Acupuncture/Chiropractic
  • Retirement Plan
  • Life Insurance
  • 14 Observed Holidays
Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm (may be required to work other than normal duty hours, to include evenings, weekends, holidays and/or on call status)

An Equal Opportunity Employer: Selection will be based solely on merit and will be without discrimination because of age, race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability.

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