Survivor Advocacy Project

The Survivor Advocacy Project (SAP) provides attorneys with legal research and writing support on a variety of issues including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. SAP also engages with UC Berkeley to support campus-wide prevention, advocacy, training, and healing efforts related to sexual violence and harassment.

For the 2020-21 academic year, SAP volunteers for will improve their research and writing skills by completing various projects, including one to assist military service-members who have experienced sexual assault and/or harassment while on active duty (otherwise referred to as Military Sexual Trauma). Students will work both with Swords to Plowshares, a Bay Area non-profit assisting low-income and at-risk veterans, and with the professors of Berkeley Law’s Veterans Law Practicum. SAP volunteers will research and develop a guide informing Military Sexual Trauma survivors of the Veterans Administration services available to them. Their work will provide crucial guidance to veteran survivors who lack the benefit of an attorney advocate as they pursue service-connected disability benefits for a condition stemming from Military Sexual Trauma. This guide will be widely disseminated to veterans through Swords to Plowshares’s network as well as by Berkeley Veterans Law Practicum students. 

SAP volunteers will also have the opportunity to improve their research and writing skills by working on a project seeking to determine how ethical rules and statutes should be revised to best protect attorneys from sexual harassment by their clients. Students will work with members of Queen’s Bench Bar Association of the San Francisco Bay Area who are planning to submit a resolution to the Conference of California Bar Associations to change the rules that make it difficult for attorneys to withdraw from representation of clients who sexually harass them in the course and scope of attorney-client representation and communications. 

The subject matter of sexual violence can often be difficult and triggering. We encourage students to be aware of self-care, and we seek to support all volunteers with vicarious trauma training.

Supervision: Students in SAP will be under the supervision of attorneys at Swords to Plowshares & Queen’s Bench.

Time Commitment: 10-20 hours per semester 

For more information, please contact the student leaders at berkeleylawsap@berkeley.edu

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