Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

Survivors of Sexual Assault Handbook

Individuals outside your immediate circle of loved ones can also provide support and acceptance that may aid in your recovery. You are the person to determine the type of help that is most useful for you. If you are a University of Michigan student, staff, faculty or alumni, please consider using SAPAC as a resource.  If you are a Michigan resident, keep in mind that throughout the state of Michigan there are rape crisis centers that offer advocacy and counseling. Don’t hesitate to seek help from these programs.


A SAPAC advocate is a professional who is trained to assist sexual assault survivors in medical, academic, housing and legal matters. The advocate has an understanding of “the system” and how it works. SAPAC advocates provide legal advocacy, which includes accompanying a survivor to court, the police station, or meeting with the prosecutor. An advocate is a source of practical, useful information and emotional support.   An advocate can also connect you to long-term therapy with a sexual assault counselor.  SAPAC has an advocate available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on our crisis line (734-936-3333).  You may also make an appointment or walk-in to see an advocate during business hours.


SAPAC’s Peer-Led Support Group can be a helpful recovery tool for survivors. This group can help you develop a supportive network with others who have had experience similar to your own. The Peer-Led Support Group runs during the fall and winter semesters and helps survivors by providing an outlet for self-care and personal reflection. Many survivors find support groups to be a valuable part of their healing process.


A sexual assault counselor is a professional who is trained to address your emotional needs. Many who have experienced sexual assault find that a counselor offers compassion and help. Some find that they can more easily discuss their assault with a professional who has worked with other survivors. If you are a currently enrolled University of Michigan student, you may want to consider talking to a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).  You can make an appointment at 734-764-8312.  They are free and confidential.  CAPS also provides a wide variety of therapist-run support groups that may be of interest to you.  The Case Manager at CAPS and SAPAC advocates are also happy to refer you to counselors in your area if you feel that this may be a better fit.


A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program includes the use of a clinician (usually a registered nurse or nurse-practitioner) with advanced education and clinical preparation in forensic examination of sexual assault victims who conducts the forensic exam of the sexual assault survivor. SANE programs assist survivors of sexual assault in receiving the most specialized treatment available.