Model Practice CARE Program for Campus Advocacy, Resources, and Education

University of California, San Francisco

Industry: Education

Principle III: Health, Safety, and Freedom from Violence

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals can work and learn together in a safe and healthy atmosphere free of violence, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. To that end, the University of California, San Francisco has established the CARE Program for Campus Advocacy, Resources and Education. The CARE Program serves students, faculty, staff, and post doctorate employees who experience sexual violence, assault, harassment or misconduct as well as domestic violence and/or stalking.

"I became aware of the CARE Program when I was the victim of sexual misconduct in my workplace. I suffered greatly as a result of what occurred at work. I lost my sense of safety and ability to trust. The CARE Advocate helped me begin to restore my sense of trust and safety…She made sure I understood my rights and she ensured others respected them, too." 
UCSF Sleep Disorder Center

Sexual and interpersonal violence and harassment present a significant obstacle to women’s success in the workplace. According to a 2006 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study on workplace violence prevention, nearly one in four large private industry establishments (with more than 1,000 employees) reported at least one incidence of domestic violence, including threats and assaults, in the past year. When employees who experience harassment or violence go unsupported, their health concerns can go untreated and may result in long term complications. Access to support can circumvent these problems, increasing better health outcomes, preventing loss in productivity, and supporting the retention of valuable employees.

According to a 2016 CARE survey, those employees who have the assistance of an advocate are significantly more likely to report policy violations and less likely to report negative experiences with the reporting process. Those who have support also experience less distress overall. Employees who work with an advocate have access to more services and report less negative interactions from those experiences. According to Corporate Leaders and America’s Workforce on Domestic Violence Survey from 2007, nearly two in three corporate executives (63%) say that domestic violence is a major problem and more than half (55%) cite its harmful impact on productivity in their companies. UCSF recognizes that in addition to presenting a workplace and safety issue, violence against women is a public health issue. The CARE program exemplifies UCSF’s commitment to addressing violence against women as the important issue it is.

How does this model practice work?

CARE is situated within the Office of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF. The CARE program exists to provide free, confidential, and privileged advice, assistance, and advocacy on behalf of individuals concerning sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual misconduct, and stalking. Advocacy includes assistance in coordinating services with local agencies on behalf of the survivor in all areas, including faculty and staff assistance, local and campus police departments, coordination of legal advocacy, medical advocacy, and other assistance. Advocates also provide accompaniment to court or administrative hearings and to investigative or other interviews. CARE supports survivors with no contact directives and requests for employment accommodations to increase safety. 

"Overall, the CARE Program increases UCSF’s ability to retain female employees, increase gender equity, and provide a safe and violence-free workplace to all." 
Nyoki Sacramento
Acting Director
Title IX Coordinator
UCSF Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination

The program was established in 2015 as a direct result of University of California President Janet Napolitano’s Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment. In its first year, the program provided direct services to approximately 5 survivors each month. The number of survivors accessing CARE services continues to grow. During the most recent month for which there is data, September 2017, the program served 14 survivors. CARE also supports prevention and education efforts throughout UCSF’s campuses, research facilities, and hospitals. UCSF interprets the increase in reporting to survivors’ greater ability to access services and make reports due in part to the support provided by the CARE Program.

How can I adopt this model practice in my workplace?

This practice can be duplicated and/or modified to fit other workplaces. While the CARE Advocate at UCSF is a licensed psychotherapist with expertise in trauma and a State-certified rape crisis counselor and domestic violence counselor, the dedicated staff need not be medically trained. Training to become a rape crisis or domestic violence counselor is available to non-clinical personnel, but it is key to have dedicated staff trained to handle confidential information by attending a 40-hour domestic violence training and state certified rape crisis training. The advocate should create and maintain relationships in the violence prevention and services community as well as connections with law enforcement and the district attorney’s office.

For the program to succeed, services should be provided free of charge and the advocate must be designated as a confidential resource. CARE should be able to operate independently and the CARE office should be situated in a neutral and accessible location. To be fully effective, the program should be widely publicized throughout the company or institution, and as part of the messaging, executive leadership should publically support the program and encourage survivors to access the program.
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