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If you say you’re going to do it, be absolutely sure that you do. In working with survivors it is of utmost importance that you remain consistent in your words and actions. Consistency with survivors builds trust that is not easily had. Trust is the key to getting through and building relationships.

Consistency is also key in building structure. A structured environment along with consistent advocacy can take you further with your programming. Advocates who demonstrate consistency and stay true to their word quickly become one of the most trusted and sought out among survivors. For instance, when I was first rescued I was put in contact with a homeland security officer. I was scared, paranoid, and very distrustful. I made the call and spoke to this agent. Over time she proved her worth by being honest, accountable, and consistent. It took years for my healing to happen and she stood beside me the whole time and never once went back on her word or failed to show up. She was truly my rock.

However, be careful to not abuse this trust and be 100% transparent with those survivors. Be up front and remind them that you are part of an advocacy team who share information in order to better serve them.

Do not cultivate or encourage gossiping among survivors and be aware of the games that they may play with you. Playing one advocate against the other is a common theme. Again, be transparent and consistent in all that you do or say.

As consistent and honest you may find yourself the popular advocate or leader. Do not forget to include all the other advocates in information sharing and try to bow out on some occasions to let other advocates build their trustworthiness with the survivors.


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