SPIP Advocates

What Is the Role of a SPIP Advocate?

Our advocates help you understand the dynamics of domestic abuse:
  • Assuring you that the abuse is not your fault
  • Emphasizing that you did not cause nor do you deserve abuse — no matter if you have struggles with addiction, unemployment or mental illness
  • Explaining that the abuse was consciously used as a tool to gain power and control over you
  • Clarifying the range of abusive and controlling behaviors
  • Underlining that within the context of what you have had to endure, the array and depth of feelings and reactions you are experiencing are normal

SPIP Advocates Work Within These Principles:

Ensuring your needs are met to the greatest extent possible and that you have access to help and services necessary to move forward and live free from violence.  When providing direct services, the victim’s safety, needs and choices are always at the forefront of all discussions and decisions.

Never losing the focus on you. In advocacy, great support arises from listening.  For many victims, the opportunity to openly and honestly vent anger regarding the abuse, sorrow over the loss of the relationship and frustrations with public systems, etc. without being judged is essential.

When you share information with our advocates you are assured of total confidentiality.  Victims value the opportunity to be completely open without the concern that their stories and information will be conveyed, without their permission, to others.  A great deal of trust is placed in our advocates, and we honor that trust. It is your right to determine when and with whom information is shared regarding your life.

When you connect with an advocate the isolation starts to break.  Our advocates may begin working with you during a time of crisis and often the relationship will continue for several months or even years.  We offer a continuum of services to ensure your (and your children’s) safety and well-being, and it is you who determine the timeline.

Our advocates have a dual role of not only in supporting you in accessing resources and safety, but in ensuring those systems and institutions are responsive to your needs. We develop relationships within numerous organizations to both improve and expedite outcomes. Safety planning is never just a form to fill out and there is no blanketed plan for a person’s life. We will assist you in mapping your destination.

Our advocates understand the range of emotions you have experienced because of the abuse, the complexity of your situation, and the indifference you may have experienced from systems or the community at large. Advocates are responsive to the complex situations’ victims have been forced to cope with, and that they seldom feel others can understand. It is within this understanding that victims are never judged.

We believe you are the ultimate expert on your own life and will support your decisions. It is you who determines when, if or for how long you need our services. Our advocates will ensure you have knowledge of, and access to, an array of support and services.  We strive to ensure that the options we offer are relevant and sensitive to the culture, age, language, spiritual belief, lifestyle, sexual orientation, gender identity, and mental and physical abilities of the victims we serve.

Throughout your journey, the justice process or other community systems, we actively advocate on your behalf (and your children’s).Our advocates work to strengthen your voice, emphasize your needs and reinforce your safety.  If you are not satisfied, we will continue advocating on your behalf - asking questions, requesting explanations, and connecting you with the appropriate people and agencies. Domestic violence is an issue of human rights, and we join with victims in realizing that right.

The wellbeing of a victim’s children frequently is at the very center of the decisions they make. Our advocates will work with you in the interest and safety of your children and in securing the resources needed for your family to move forward and heal from the abuse.

It is vital, whenever possible, that our advocates can speak your language and understand the cultural implications of your life-changing transitions. Our advocacy staff is comprised of African, Somali, Latina, European and Southeast Asian American ethnic backgrounds, as well as elders, differing abilities, LGBTQ, new immigrants and survivors; in which English, Spanish, Hmong, Karen, French, Somali and basic sign languages are spoken. Interpreters are also used when needed.

Our Advocates Affirm Your Personal Rights To:

  • Live free from violence and be safe in your own home
  • Be treated with respect and valued
  • Be the expert on your own life, and when presented with options and the support and protections needed to safely pursue those options, you have the right to and are capable of determining your own choices
  • Have absolute control over any information you share with us
  • Obtain the support, resources and justice you deserve
  • Keep your personal feelings toward the abusive partner
  • Act in your own self-defense (acts of self-defense and domestic abuse are entirely different things)
In addition, you have legal rights under Minnesota state law throughout the court process:
  • Receive notification of the prosecutor’s decision to dismiss the charges or not prosecute the abusive person.
  • Retain your job and not be disciplined because you have been subpoenaed or were requested to appear in court.
  • Submit a victim impact statement to the court and request restitution for out-of-pocket expenses related to the crime.
  • State your opinion, orally or in writing about plea bargain agreements and sentencing.
  • Be informed of the release of the abuser from jail.
  • Seek protection through family court, which issues Orders for Protection