WAVAW’S Victim Services team does hospital, police, and court accompaniments, and they offer emotional support to survivors as they navigate these systems.
But how is the emotional support a survivor receives from a Victim Service Worker different from the emotional support a survivor would receive from a Sexual Assault Counselor?
One of our Victim Service Workers uses the analogy that everyone carries a backpack with them, and this backpack is heavy with the weight of our past experiences.
When a survivor first accesses WAVAW and speaks with a Victim Service Worker following trauma, their backpack is tattered, heavy, and hard to manage. A Victim Service Worker will support a survivor in repairing the backpack by adjusting the straps to lighten the load, patching over any tears, and closing all the zippers so it may be comfortably managed.
A Counselor’s role is to support the survivor in taking the backpack off, pulling everything out of it, and sorting through the contents, eventually removing things that no longer serve the survivor. This makes the weight of the backpack less noticeable as they move through the world.
Both of these roles are essential, and they work together to ensure that survivors are supported by WAVAW along every step of their healing journey.
Thank you for standing with survivors. Our community plays an essential role in lightening the load.
The WAVAW Team