Most services for sexual assault survivors focus on survivors alone, but what if loved ones were taught how to help?

UW Medicine is seeking participants for a new study focused on training survivors’ friends and family on how to support recovery after sexual assault.    

“A lot of the time, the people around us want to help, but just aren’t sure how,” said Emily Dworkin, the study’s lead investigator and an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UW Medicine.

The CARE Program, offered in English and Spanish, will take part in two confidential video appointments with an expert who has been specially trained to teach support skills.

A survivor of a sexual assault ⁠ — defined as unwanted sexual contact without consent ⁠ — which has occurred within the previous 10 weeks will enroll in the study together with a designated supporter.

Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.


The Program for Trauma Recovery Innovations is conducting the study in partnership with the Harborview Abuse and Trauma Center. Survivors and designated supporters may receive $110 each as compensation for participating.

“The supporter can be anybody in their life who already knows about the assault and is able and willing to provide them good support moving forward,” Dworkin said.

Learn more about the study and how to enroll at

“I think we can all look back on a time in our life where we were going through something difficult and we didn’t get the kind of support that we needed,” Dworkin said. “I think all of us can appreciate how much more difficult that would be after something like sexual assault.”

If you need help

News reports of sexual-assault allegations could be a trigger for victims and survivors of abuse. Here are some resources:
  • The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center offers a 24-hour resource line (888-998-6423). Additionally, KCSARC can help connect people with therapy, legal advocates and family services (
  • UW Medicine’s Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress ( offers resources, including counseling and medical care. For immediate help, call 206-744-1600.
  • For readers outside King County, the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs lists 38 Washington state providers that offer free services. (
  • RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network provides a free, confidential hotline (800-656-4673) and online chat ( with trained staff members.