VIP peer advocates is a group of trained and certified students that support people who have experienced sexual assault, harassment, intimate partner violence, and stalking. They are available to support friends of people who have been hurt and able talk over situations that have red flags, but you are not sure if something bad has happened. VIP peer advocates are confidential and available 24/7 via their call and text hotline: 515-512-2972.
The role of an advocate is to walk alongside you as you weigh options, make decisions, or navigate systems. Advocates can connect you with resources, listen and provide encouragement. They can help you plan for ways to stay safe before or after an incident has occurred. Should you decide that you want to make a report to the police or to Drake University, an advocate can support you through that process and accompany you to meetings. If you decide you want to go to the hospital for a sexual assault exam, VIP advocates can help make arrangements for transportation and for a professional advocate to support you at the hospital. Speaking with an advocate does not notify either the police, the hospital, your parents, or the school. Your information is kept confidential and you get to decide what options you want to pursue.
Seeking support from a VIP peer advocate is confidential. They do not report to Drake University. VIP peer advocates are supervised by professional advocates from Crisis Intervention Services and Domestic Violence Services. This means information you share stays within the VIP program and is protected under the Iowa Code.
Not necessarily. While Drake can feel like a small school, VIP peer advocates are from many different majors and graduate programs. You do not need to provide your name. If you prefer, you can text to maintain more anonymity. You can also always ask to speak to either another peer advocate or to a professional advocate and the person answering the hotline can help make that connection. Finally, VIP has arranged for professional advocates to hold office hours on campus.
VIP accepts new applications in the spring of each year. We hold a required 30-hour victim counselor certification training the week before the fall semester begins. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to apply.