Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Counselor Education and Supervision

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Catherine B. Jenni

Commitee Members

David Brown, Merle J. Farrier, Darrell Stolle, Rita Sommers-Flanagan


Phenomenological Analsis, Qualitative Research, Sexual Assault, Student Advocates, Trauma, Volunteers


University of Montana


This qualitative research explores how volunteering as an advocate at the Student Assault Resource Center (SARC) at The University of Montana, impacts the lives of the student advocates. Unstructured interviews with six SARC advocates were analyzed through the process of phenomenological reduction providing essential descriptions of the experience in the participants' natural language.

Analysis indicated the importance of adequate training, formation of trust among the advocates, and the need for playfulness in the midst of challenging and difficult work. Results further revealed that the participants experience self-care as an important and necessary part of advocate training and of their daily lives, fostering self confidence and feelings of empowerment. Also indicated was the need for thoughtful, consistent support from the coordinator of the advocacy program. This study has implications for any organization interested in improving services both to rape crisis volunteers and to the clients they serve.



© Copyright 2009 Kerry S. Maier