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The Advocacy Program of Adena Health System is dedicated to serve the needs of adults and children who have experienced Interpersonal Violence such as Sexual and/or Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, or those who may have been victims of Hate Crimes. Advocates offer survivor’s comprehensive trauma informed services in the hospital /medical settings and offer continued care coordination until survivors are living safe independent lives free of violence. Crisis Response Advocates are available 24 hours / 7days a week to responds to survivors who present to any Adena Emergency Department or Urgent Care Center. In addition to the 24 hour / 7day a week services offered, survivors may request a referral from their medical care provider or can contact the program directly to schedule an appointment.

Crisis Advocacy Services Include:

  • Emotional Support and Care Navigation Assistance: Explanation of the medical and legal system, victims’ rights, and choices and options about care.  
  • Medical Accompaniment for Emergency and Forensic Medical Care.
  • Replacement Clothing, Hygiene Kits, and Shelter Sacks
  • Law Enforcement Interview Accompaniment
  • Assessments for basic and safety needs – client centered care plans address immediate basic needs and safety concerns.
  • Safety Services: Safety / Exit Planning, Shelter Referrals, and disbursements of safety supplies such as door jambs, alarms, locks, and wedges.
  • Resource linkage and referrals to other Community Organizations to assist with food, clothing, shelter, housing, legal advocacy, protection orders and other needs identified by the survivor.
  • Assistance in VINE registration and/or Crime Compensation Application
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Interpretation Services
  • All victims of Interpersonal Violence who seek services through Adena Health System will have their healthcare needs prioritized. This includes any physical or behavioral health needs as well as any forensic nursing services. Forensic nursing service include:

- Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits (Rape Kits)
- Drug Facilitate Sexual Assaults (DFSA) Specimen Collection
- Post Exposure STI/D and HIV Prophylactics
- Strangulation and Head Trauma Assessments
- Forensic Photography
- Plan B

Aftercare Coordination Services Include:

Aftercare appointments are available Monday – Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. but can be scheduled in advance for evenings and weekends depending on the survivors needs.

  • Emotional Support throughout the survivor’s ongoing navigation of the legal system, follow-up medical care, and other social services. With continued assistance in understanding victims’ rights, and choices and options about care.
  • Medical Appointment accompaniment for follow-up services, this includes but not limited to primary care, behavioral health, and OBGYN appointments to support survivors through first time disclosures 
  • Clothing and Hygiene Item Assistance Program, including monthly hygiene boxes.
  • Law Enforcement Interview Accompaniment and referrals to other legal services and legal advocacy centers locally and throughout the state.
  • Assessments for basic and safety needs – goal driven client care plan development to address long term access to basic needs, economic independence, and safety. 
  • Assistance in VINE registration and/or Crime Compensation Applications
  • Assistance signing up for benefits and obtaining needed documentation i.e. State ID, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card Replacements.
  • Safety Services: Safety / Exit Planning, Shelter Referrals, and disbursements of safety supplies such as door jambs, alarms, locks, and wedges.
  • Resource linkage and referrals to other Community Organizations to assist with food, clothing, shelter, housing, legal advocacy, protection orders and other needs identified by the survivor. As well as on going coordination of other services.
  • Landlord and Employer Intervention: Assistance and support of survivors in explaining to landlords and employers situations that have occurred due to interpersonal violence.
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Interpretation Services
  • Safe at Home Ohio Address Confidentiality Program as an Application Assistant for: Fayette, Highland, Jackson, Pickaway, Pike, and Ross Counties.

Safe at Home

The Safe at Home address confidentiality program was created by Substitute House Bill 359 (131st General Assembly) to assist victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape, or sexual battery by shielding their personal information from public record and providing them with a safe and secure way to participate in our democratic process. Program participants are assigned a substitute address designated by the Secretary of State’s Office to serve as their address. The substitute address is intended to help program participants shield their address from public records. Additionally, Safe at Home allows a program participant who is eligible to vote to register without his/her voter registration record appearing in public voter registration lists, and to vote absentee without his/her residence address being compromised.

For more information or to find an application assistant in you county click here.

All services are free, trauma informed, and victim centered. Services are open to anyone regardless of age, class, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, criminal background, and are not dependent on participation in other programming such as suds or behavioral health treatment.

To schedule an appointment or to make a referral:

Call: 740-779-7263 or 740-656-5340

Email: survivoradvocates@adena.org

Please consider your personal safety when reaching out and ensure the following:

  • It is a safe time to talk;
  • You are able to have privacy; and 
  • The phone or email account you are using is secure   

The Advocacy Program understand that reaching out for services is a big step it can also be a dangerous one. Please note that an advocate will not call or email survivors back unless survivor’s clearly indicate a date and time to receive communication.

Adena Health System’s Advocacy Program is doing its part to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and offering a variety of aftercare coordinator services via tele-advocacy. For the safety of those who prefer or require and in person appointment please note:

  • All areas are properly and regularly sanitized
  • Appointment areas are designed to preserve social distancing and respect privacy
  • Mask are required to be worn by advocate, clients, and client support person, if you do not have a mask one will be provided to you
  • Temperature, symptom screenings, and hand sanitizing are required upon entry
  • Survivors should call the number posted on the door upon arrival, if you do not have a way to call, please let your advocate know so other accommodations can be provided
  • Survivors are allowed to have one support person accompany them to advocacy appointments and minor children are permitted

Other Services:

  • Peer to peer support groups
  • Clothesline Project workshops
  • Community awareness events
  • Various education and training opportunities about identifying and working with victims of interpersonal violence

If you are a survivor or a community agency and you are interested in attending or hosting any of the above activities, please contact that Advocacy Program for additional information:

Call: 740.779.7263 or 740.656.5340

About Our Staff and Volunteers



What is an Advocate?

As an advocate for survivors of interpersonal violence is a unique and critically important role. Unlike other professionals involved in responding to the crime, advocates approach all survivors by believing them, by advocating for their rights and needs, and by working to empower them in their efforts toward recovery and healing. Advocates interact with survivors and their loved ones at numerous points in the aftermath of violence, including in the hospital, within the criminal justice system, on the phone, and within interpersonal violence programs and affiliated agencies throughout Ohio.  Advocates are uniquely positioned to intervene at any point in the survivor’s recovery process, from immediately following the crime to decades later. The impact advocates have in the lives of survivors and their loved ones cannot be overstated.

Advocates in the hospital setting act on behalf and in support of survivors and co-survivors navigating the medical/healthcare setting by ensuring that the survivor has the appropriate information and resources to make decisions about their healthcare needs, and supports them in obtaining their desired healthcare. This is to ensure that all survivors has access to trauma informed victim-centered care to reduce incidents of re-victimization. All Advocates receive 40 hours of classroom training on working with survivors of Interpersonal Violence and Peer Training on real case response in the emergency medical setting.

Volunteer opportunities

Adena’s Advocacy Program relies on one important factor, volunteers. Without volunteers we could never meet the needs of the survivors who come to Adena. The crisis response team responds to around 25-40 cases a month. Cases consist of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, Child/Elder Abuse, and any other crimes that are based in oppression.  In addition to crisis response we offer multiple community events to educate the public about our services, and have two busy offices in Ross County.  Below is each avenue of volunteerism we offer, and what it entails: 

Crisis Response Advocate- Available 24/7 covering 3 emergency rooms and 2 urgent cares.  Responds to Sexual/Domestic Violence, Child/Elder Abuse, Hate Crimes.  Complete a 40-hour training and be deemed by a season Advocate as competent when working with survivors.

  • Emotional Support
  • System Information
  • Crisis Intervention Services
  • Resource Linkage
  • Aftercare, Referrals, and Follow-up

Outreach Advocate- participates in outreach events that help inform the community about services available and provide resources to those who may not be able to access them through more traditional ways.  Complete an 8-hour training on basic advocacy skills.

  • Tabling Events
  • Street Outreach
  • Faith Based Advocacy Team
  • Community Education/Guest Speaking Opportunities

Program Support Advocate- help out in the office setting with basic program needs that can be tailored to any skill set.  Complete 2-hour basic training which includes department orientation.

  • Stock/print/file/fold resources
  • Make survivor folders
  • Put together safety sacs
  • Verify county resources
  • Answer phones and basic clerical task


The process of becoming a volunteer is a selective one that includes an application, criminal background check and an interview. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.

Customizable internships and practicums for school credits or professional experience are available.

For more information about how you can get involved, call or email: 

Heather Welshimer – Program Manager



Funding and Donations 

Adena’s Advocacy Program is funded by Adena Health System, Adena Health Foundation and various grants provided by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, City of Chillicothe, Ohio and the Ross County Commissioners. 

Adena Health Foundation Donors include Group and Private Donors. The Advocacy Program would like to thank the following organizations and groups for their continuous support of survivors of interpersonal violence.

  • Adena’s Women’s Board
  • Adena’s Volunteer Board
  • Women and Business Professionals of America – Ross County Chapter
  • Ross County League of Women Voters
  • Chillicothe First Assembly of God 

For more information on how to donate to support survivors please contact:

Adena Health Foundation



Adena Advocacy Program