Survivor Advocacy Project

SAP (Survivor Advocacy Project) SLP Logo

The Survivor Advocacy Project (SAP) builds generations of lawyers dedicated to preventing and combatting sexual harassment and violence. SAP provides the communities within UC Berkeley, the Bay Area, and beyond with legal support aimed at empowering and supporting survivors of sexual violence. SAP instills skills of prevention, advocacy, training, empathy, cultural competency, and healing. 

In the 2023-24 academic year, SAP members will work with one of two partners:

(1) Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC): Students will be focusing on a draft memorandum of understanding to be used by victim service agencies (primarily rape crisis centers, or RCCs) in Massachusetts that are working with correctional agencies across the Commonwealth to satisfy their obligations under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). States that have decided to implement the federal PREA requirements have the obligation under the law to provide a set of services to prisoners in their custody. While PREA outlines these services broadly, it also mandates that correctional agencies have a more detailed agreement or contract with “outside emotional support agencies” that can provide certain specific resources to prisoners – crisis intervention hotline support, advocacy during sexual assault evidence collection, providing advocates for investigational interviews, etc. Although PREA mandates these agreements, it unfortunately does not provide any additional guidance about what these agreements should look like, or what obligations correctional agencies and emotional support agencies should address when making them.

In Massachusetts (and in many other states), this ambiguity has led to a patchwork of formal and informal agreements between RCCs and correctional agencies that often leave gaps in services for prisoners. Because there is no standardization in agreements, some correctional agencies do not provide the same level of protection for rape crisis counselor confidentiality that both Massachusetts law and federal law require; some agreements do not include all the services that PREA requires a correctional agency to provide; and many do not have specific provisions for cross-training or RCC staff access. The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive and annotated memorandum of understanding template that any RCC and correctional agency can use that satisfies the obligations under PREA, and also ensures that all services are provided in a manner consistent with Massachusetts confidentiality laws and best practices.

(2) Equal Rights Advocates (ERA): Students will be working on an in-depth research and writing project. The project involves students conducting legal research and working closely with attorneys to understand the intersection between Title IX, Title VII, and reproductive rights.

There has been a robust, aggressive, and successful rollback of reproductive rights over the past two years. Traditionally, reproductive rights legal practice has focused heavily on privacy law and medical law practice areas and intersections. Equal Rights Advocates, a 50-year-old gender justice legal organization founded by Berkeley Law students in 1974, has traditionally practiced anti-discrimination laws, such as Title IX, Title VII, Pregnancy Discrimination, and Equal Pay statutes on the federal and state level.

After Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, finding alternative pathways to protect reproductive rights, possibly through Title IX or Title VII, for example, has become urgent. We feel strongly that we must leverage our expertise in civil
rights impact litigation and worker/student protections and advocacy to enter the reproductive rights fight in novel and useful ways for the people on the ground, at work and at school, in need of these rights and protections against the troubling waves of tracking and persecution we are now seeing in many states. In order to do this, we need the help of Berkeley Law students to perform the landscaping legal research and help us lay the foundation for our analysis and approach to this practice area

ERA would like to develop an analysis of the possible intersection between Title IX/related school-based anti-discrimination protections, Title VII/related work-based anti-discrimination, and reproductive rights. ERA will use this analysis to buttress the fight for reproductive rights by pursuing novel cases and/or novel legislation in the anti-discrimination law realm the organization is a long-standing expert in with a newly applied lens of reproductive rights protections in the discrimination context.

Additionally, students will have the opportunity to hear from attorneys at Equal Rights Advocates regarding their work providing direct services to college students during Title IX hearings, as well as their work advocating to policymakers and pursuing change by authoring, advising on, and supporting legislation.

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 provide legal services under the supervision of attorneys from the Equal Rights Advocates and Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

Time Commitment: Approximately 20 hours a semester for BARCC and approximately 20 hours a semester for ERA.

For more information, please contact the student leaders at