virtual advocacy

Virtual Advocacy Services

Zoom advocacy appointments are for survivors, or support person(s), who prefer to speak with a Confidential Advisor in a virtual, video format. As with all forms of advocacy and support, your safety and privacy is a priority for the Women's Resources Center (WRC). You have options, and we want you to have as much information as possible to make informed decisions. 

For virtual appointments, you will need:

Appointments can be made by calling us at 217-333-3137 from a safe number, or e-mailing us at womenscenter@illinois.edu, from a safe email address. You will also need:

  • Access to a smart mobile device or a computer with microphone and video capabilities; 
  • Data/internet access; and
  • The Zoom app installed on your mobile device or computer.
  • If you do not have these pieces of equipment, please call (217) 244-5517 or send an e-mail to womenscenter@illinois.edu for alternative support. 

Before using virtual advocacy we encourage you to be mindful of the possible risks:

Virtual advocacy appointments through Zoom are done through Zoom PHI (Private Health Information). This portal provides an additional layer of security through restricted technical and compliance controls, including very limited logging. Though removal of the risks cannot be guaranteed 100%, the WRC has taken steps to make Zoom as safe as possible for your appointment. These include:

  • Password protected and locked meetings
  • The WRC will only share the meeting ID and password with you and your Confidential Advisor
  • Appointments are conducted through Zoom PHI which includes additional privacy and encryption
  • Using the “waiting room” feature to screen who can come into the meeting room
  • Requiring you to enter with a code, to better protect your privacy

As with any virtual platform though, there are potential risks including interruption, tracking/monitoring, unauthorized access (“Zoombombing”), technical difficulties, and the potential for the required Zoom App to be seen through phone or computer account settings. We encourage you to consider these facts as you determine if virtual advocacy is the safest option for you. For general tech safety tips, visit our Tech Safety Tips page

If you would like to talk further about what meeting on Zoom will look like, or you have further questions or concerns about your appointment options, please give us at 217-333-3137 from a safe number, or e-mail us at womenscenter@illinois.edu, from a safe email address.  

Steps you can take to increase your safety and privacy:

  • Keep the info private: do not share your Zoom meeting ID and password with anyone
  • Choose a private setting and location for your appointment
  • Let your Confidential Advisor know if you are not in a private space
  • Keep in mind your background: take down anything you don’t want seen on screen, or use a premade Zoom background

Ready to participate in virtual advocacy? Here's what you need to know: