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Hope Behind Bars: An Advocate's Guide to Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Detention

NCJ Number
Date Published
44 pages

This report addresses the problem of sexual abuse of incarcerated offenders and provides to advocates and service providers working with these individuals.


This manual is intended for use by rape crisis advocates and other victim service providers who work with survivors of sexual abuse in detention. This manual addresses the concerns that advocates have for working in prisons and jails and offers advice for helping survivors who are still incarcerated. The concerns addressed in this report include ensuring advocates' safety while working in the facility; providing services to people who may seem dangerous or who may have committed sex crimes; adapting interventions and advocacy strategies for the corrections environment; working with unfamiliar populations, including people who have not traditionally sought help from rape crisis centers; and expanding services with no new staff or funding. The manual begins with an overview of the problem, describing those individuals most at risk for sexual abuse while in custody. The following sections of the manual cover The Importance of Advocates, Overcoming Barriers to Providing Services Behind Bars, Guiding Principles to Serving Survivors in Custody, Hospital Accompaniment for Survivors, Hotline Services for Inmates, Prisoner Correspondence, and In-Person Services in Detention Settings. Notes