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Advocacy 101 Presentation Given By UCI CARE’s Office Informs Sexual Assault Survivors Of Their Rights

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by: Ethan Johnson

photo by: Esmeralda Bobadilla

UCI CARE and the Legal Education Clinic held a presentation sharing details of CARE’s advocacy program along with state rights and university policies that offer support and protection of sexual violence survivors on school campuses on Jan. 30.

Kaeleigh Hayakawa, Violence Prevention Coordinator for CARE, conducted a brief presentation going over what CARE’s advocacy program can offer student survivors, as well as legislation that protects survivors of sexual assault. 

“The main goal of this event is to make sure people are aware of the resources they have available to them on campus and what their rights are as students and survivors on this campus too, state rights and their reporting options,” said Hayakawa, “but also really understanding what UCI CARE can provide to them in terms of support services and navigating what those criminal justice or university processes may look like.”

Hayakawa’s presentation focused on CARE’s advocacy program,  a free confidential resource that provides resources and information, crisis counseling, emotional support, coping skills development and other helpful resources for student survivors.

CARE advocates are equipped to supply survivors with emotional, medical, academic, reporting, financial, housing and referral support with complete confidentiality and no additional cost to the student. CARE’s advocacy is devoted to the aid of students in need, yet the advocate meetings are not a replacement for therapy. The purpose of the advocacy program is to provide accessible resources for further help.

Hayakawa’s presentation addressed Title IX and the Victim’s Bill of Rights, also known as Marsy’s Law.  She said that UCI’s Title IX officer serves as a resource on sexual crimes and investigates and offers resolution towards allegations of sexual offenses on campus. 

Hayakawa said that survivors are also aided by Marsy’s Law, which offers victims the rights of fair treatment, respect for the person’s privacy and dignity and freedom from harassment and abuse throughout the justice system. 

“I think it’s important for students to know their rights so that they know when they’re being violated,” said Hayakawa. “Sometimes the people who are in charge don’t even know that something isn’t going according to plan or following the law. So for students, especially those who want to advocate for themselves, or who are going through difficult processes, I think it’s very important that they are able to identify those rights.”

The presentation concluded with a list of university resources, including UCI CARE, UCI Counselling and the Title IX Office.

The presentation covered the difference between the criminal justice system — the process involving law enforcement resulting in criminal charges — and adjudication, the process involving the investigation of a Title IX officer resulting in sanctions restricted within the bounds of the university. 

“Today, I feel like I learned more about the direct resources that the CARE office provides and the whole idea of advocates in general,” said ASUCI Chief of Staff Hannah Quach, who attended the event. “It’s a free way for students to be able to talk to someone about situations they’re facing, because sometimes, when they are victims, it can be hard to process all the different things that they can be doing … So it was a good way to learn about how someone can go about learning what’s good for their situation.”

To discuss current worries or decide future steps, set up an appointment with a CARE advocate by either calling the CARE office or by setting up an appointment in person.

“They [survivors] are not alone. There’s a whole community of support here whenever they want to engage,” said Hayakawa. 

photo by Esmeralda Bobadilla