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Medical Advocacy: Get Support at the Hospital

I had never felt so alone in my life, but there you were with me every step of the way.

Our highly trained and supervised volunteer and staff advocates meet survivors–as well as their friends, families, loved ones, and any professionals who accompany them–at area hospitals 24-7 (emergency rooms and intensive care units). The advocate’s purpose is to provide comfort to the survivor by sharing knowledge, offering empowering support, helping survivors talk with medical staff, and ensuring the survivor has next steps and referrals. 

BARCC's services are free and confidential to people ages 12 and older. BARCC's Medical Advocacy program works with hospitals to arrange language interpretation when needed and ensure that reasonable accommodations will be provided. 

What a medical advocate can do for you

Immediately following an assault you may face many emotional, medical, and legal decisions. If you go to the hospital, a medical advocate can support you during a sexual assault exam and evidence collection. If you go to a hospital that is part of the SANE program, they will call BARCC. If you go to an emergency room that is not part of the SANE program, you can ask the hospital to call BARCC's hotline for a medical advocate. Advocates can do the following:

  • Support you at the hospital emergency room and stay with you during your visit
  • Advocate for your needs with the hospital staff
  • Explain sexual assault exams and evidence collection kits
  • Provide information so you can make the best possible decisions for your situation
  • Talk with your family or friends who come to the hospital about how to best support you
  • Help you connect with a variety of resources for safety and support

What services do medical advocates provide?

Medical advocates provide in-person, compassionate, and knowledgeable support to survivors and their families in hospital emergency departments 24 hours a day during sexual assault exam and evidence collection kits.

Who are BARCC medical advocates?

BARCC’s medical advocates are trained rape crisis counselors who understand the hospital emergency room experience. They go to the hospital hundreds of times each year. BARCC works in cooperation with hospitals and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program to ensure that survivors get the best possible care.

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