Medical Advocacy

Highly trained medical advocates are on call 24 hours a day to provide in-person crisis support to survivors of sexual assault and abuse at 14 hospitals located in Chicago.

A medical advocate acts as a liaison with healthcare professionals to ensure survivors needs are met and they are treated with dignity and respect.  Medical advocates also assist victims after the emergency room.  If you have been assaulted we recommend you go to a hospital as soon as possible so that you can receive medical treatment and have the opportunity to complete an evidence collection kit (often called a rape kit) up to 7 days after the assault if you choose. By law rape victims in Illinois should not be billed for medical treatment received in a hospital emergency department as a result of sexual violence. Please note: if you seek emergency services in an ER, the hospital is required to notify police, but you are not required to file a police report. We recommend going to an RVA partner hospital so that an advocate can help you navigate this process. Medical advocacy services are available in English and Spanish.

RVA medical advocates can

  • Provide crisis counseling
  • Give you information about your medical concerns and your right to treatment
  • Provide you with information about your legal rights and options
  • Help you communicate with hospital staff and police
  • Assist you with immediate needs such as transportation, shelter referrals, or clothing
  • Connect you to other services such as counseling
  • Assist you in accessing follow up medical treatment such as emergency contraception or pregnancy options
  • Assist you in resolving hospital bills you may have received for emergency treatment
  • Accompany you to file a police report and/or meet with law enforcement

Legal Advocacy

RVA is here to support you throughout the legal process. We can help navigate the criminal justice process, as well as discuss alternatives to the criminal justice system, including civil remedies. We support all sexual assault survivors, regardless of whether or not they want to report the crime to law enforcement. Legal advocacy services are available in English and Spanish.

A legal advocate can

  • Provide you with information about your legal rights and options, including information about relevant Illinois laws (please note: RVA legal advocates do not provide legal advice)
  • Accompany you to file a police report and/or meet with law enforcement
  • Help you communicate with the police and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • Help you file for Crime Victims Compensation
  • Assist you in filing a petition for a protective order against the person who harmed you
  • Provide you with referrals and support for other services, legal options, and attorneys who can assist with Title IX complaints, visitation and custody disputes, immigration, and workplace rights
For more information, or to make an appointment with an advocate, please call (312)443-9603, or contact us via email. All RVA services are free of charge and confidential.

Click here to download RVA’s Medical and Legal Advocacy Brochure

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“99% of survivors seen in the ER agreed or strongly believed the crisis services provided in the ER were helpful.”

Sarah Layden

Director of Advocacy Services, Rape Victim Advocates