Main Navigation

Quick Links

Empowering survivors: the vital role of Victim Advocate Services

According to a study by the National Institute of Justice, 20-25% of female students and 6-8% of male students have experienced violence during their time on campus.

The University of Utah Department of Public Safety recognizes the significance of this statement and how victim advocacy is vital not just for students but all public safety on the U’s campus. The Victim Advocacy Services Program is here to empower victims to make informed decisions about what to do next as the victim of a crime.

Crime Victim Advocacy on the University Campus

Hilary White, Crime Victim Advocate Coordinator for the Department of Public Safety, strives to empower victim-survivors in various ways.

Hilary comes from an experienced background in domestic violence and sexual assault local resources with her work at YWCA Utah. She uses this experience to help victims who’ve been harmed by providing information, support, and advocacy. “The most important thing I do with anybody is help them develop a safety plan,” Hilary explains. “Support can include conducting danger assessments, assisting with protection orders, and providing education around domestic violence or trauma, how it affects the brain and the body, and more.”

There are two other crucial steps Hilary takes with her victim-survivors. Using her knowledge of the criminal system, she not only educates them but provides them with moral support, whether in an interview with the police or attending court. Additionally, she provides referrals to different partners and resources on and off campus. Lastly, she aids them through their navigating things at the university. For her, that could include Title IX or the Office of Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action processes, as well as academic adjustments. 

For Hilary, it’s her job to be an expert in all resources that may help victim-survivors make an informed decision about what they want to do next.

What to know

Hilary and the Department of Public Safety want the public to know that help is available, whether or not someone wants to file a report. 

If an individual does not want to report, they can use the victim-survivor advocates (VSAs) with the Center for Student Wellness. The VSAs provide many of the same resources while also being confidential (i.e., not mandatory reporters). 

If an individual wants support through the reporting process with the University of Utah Police Department, a team of crime victim advocates can provide that assistance. While VSAs are available by appointment, the team is available 24/7. If someone needs safety planning at 2 a.m., they can answer the phone. 

If you’ve been harmed in some way, get in contact with someone who can help you navigate what to do next. There are so many ways the university can provide support, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

 “Whatever the situation is, I can help someone know what options they have for getting resources,” says Hilary.

How to contact the victim advocates in the Department of Safety

If someone is experiencing an emergency, always call 911. If you need help with safety planning or other resources the victim advocates offer, call 801-585-2677 any time and ask to be transferred to a victim advocate. If your request is not time-sensitive, you can email You can find more information about the services we offer here.