The University of Washington Tacoma offers free advocacy and support for students affected by sexual assault, rape, relationship violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment and other related experiences. Advocacy is a safe and confidential starting point for any student affected by these issues. Meeting with an advocate will not automatically lead to any kind of investigation by the university or the police.
The UW Tacoma confidential advocate provides compassionate and empowering support and can help you explore your rights and options, and get you connected to resources. All decisions to pursue next steps, if any, are entirely up to you. You do not need to make a formal report to receive support from an advocate.
Make an Appointment
Make a virtual or in-person appointment to meet with the advocate by calling 253-692-4750 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The advocate will respond back to you within one business day.
What to Expect When Meeting with a Confidential Advocate
If meeting in-person, you will meet with the advocate in a private office situated in a confidential space. If you prefer to meet virtually, we will use a version of Zoom that maintains your privacy and security. You can tell the advocate as much or as little as you'd like, there is no expectation of how much information you’d like to share. There's nothing in particular that you need to bring with you, but if you have documents or notes that you'd like to refer to, you're welcome to bring them along. You can meet with an advocate as much or as little as you’d like.
Advocates help you explore what your needs and goals are and then provides support to help you achieve them. This means that support will be tailored to you.
Advocacy support can include:
Learn about common reactions to sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, trauma, and other experiences.
Learn about your rights and reporting options.
Discuss how you can take care of yourself and discover options to begin the healing process whether through counseling, stress reduction techniques, support groups, and/or other resources.
Connections to Services & Resources
Discuss options for medical care and for other campus and community support resources.
Learn about civil protection orders, an option external to the University.
Make a safety plan.
Discuss making a formal complaint to the University through the Title IX Investigation Office or the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO). The advocate is available to help support you through any reporting process you choose.
Discuss making a report to the police. The advocate is available to help support you throughout this process.
Discuss how your experience may have affected work or school and how the advocate can help by working with your professors.
Make a holistic plan for managing the impact of this experience at UW.
Connections to well-being supportive resources and services.
Sexual Assault Resources: Resources for victims of sexual and/or dating and relationship violence on confidential support, how to address safety concerns and locate providers of medical care and counseling, and to learn how to report sexual assault.
Title IX at the University of Washington: The University of Washington carries out the objectives of Title IX through a coordinated system of initiatives, programs, and services that collectively protect educational access, advance gender equity, and prevent and respond to sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender discrimination.
How to Support a Friend: Learn more about the steps that you can take to help a friend who is experiencing sexual and/or relationship and dating violence.
Campus Escort Service: UW Tacoma Campus Safety offers free safety escorts to walk with you to your car or other campus locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the respondent (the accused person) isn’t a UW student?
Any survivor of sexual violence can access confidential advocacy services at UW Tacoma regardless of the other person’s status as a UW student or not. Only the survivor needs to be a UW student.
How recent does the incident need to have happened?
The incident of sexual violence does not need to be recent for a survivor to access services.
Does the confidential advocate provide therapy?
No, the advocate does not provide therapy or psychological services, but will refer to UW Tacoma’s Psychological and Wellness Services. The advocate can help you to make a holistic plan for managing the impact of this experience at UW.
What does confidential mean?
Advocacy services are completely confidential. This means that the advocate is not able to either confirm or deny that they are working with a survivor. It also means that anything the survivor shares is legally protected, nobody can request it or access it without the survivor’s specific, informed permission, or when required by law.
My experience has nothing to do with UW. Can I still use advocacy services?
Yes, advocacy services are for all survivors, even if the incidence has nothing to do with UW.
What does Title IX mean?
Title IX is a 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in schools, colleges, and universities. Other laws, including Title VII, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Washington State law also prohibit sex and gender discrimination. While Title IX covers all forms of sex discrimination, the term “Title IX” is often used as a short-hand to describe the sub-set of policies, procedures, or programs that specifically address sexual misconduct.
I was sexually assaulted. What should I do?
f you were assaulted within the last 5 days, it’s recommend to go to an emergency department for a sexual assault exam and evidence collection (these are sometimes referred to as SANE exams, SAFE exams, and sexual assault forensic exams). It is best not to shower or change clothes before the exam, but if you have, we can still collect evidence of the assault. The exam is your opportunity to get your immediate health concerns and needs met. You can decide at the exam whether you want evidence collected.
At any point after the assault, either before or after the sexual assault exam, it is recommended to get connected to the UW Tacoma confidential advocate.
Yes. For victims assaulted in Washington State, the medical forensic exam, evidence collection, and post assault lab work and medications are billed to the Washington Crime Victims Compensation Program, so the survivor does not pay any fee for these services. These are paid for regardless of whether a victim makes a report to law enforcement or chooses to participate in the criminal justice system.
Do I have to make a report to the police to get a sexual assault exam?
By law, victims are not required to make a report, cooperate with law enforcement or participate in the criminal justice system to receive the no-cost sexual assault forensic exam. Evidence can be collected without making a report to law enforcement. If you do decide to make a police report, making it early means that an investigation can be started sooner with less chance of lost evidence. It’s okay to take time to consider the pros and cons of making a legal report.
Where can I find more information about sexual assault exams?