What is an empowerment approach to working with sexual assault survivors?



This exploratory study sought to better understand what constitutes the empowerment approach used by rape crisis advocates working with sexual assault survivors. A grounded theory, qualitative, semistructured interview study was conducted of rape victim advocates (N=25) working in rape crisis centers in a large metropolitan area. Several characteristics were described as reflecting an empowerment orientation or approach to work with survivors, some of which were specifically described as a “feminist” empowerment approach. Implications for research and practice are drawn. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.