Client Rights

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County is committed to creating a safe environment for all survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence. The programs of the Advocacy Center are available to everyone who is a victim of domestic and/or sexual violence regardless of race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, economic status, immigration status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, military status, biological sex, marital status, or physical or mental abilities.

The Advocacy Center prohibits any harassment and/or bullying by staff, volunteers, or other clients based on a person’s identity. 

Grievance Procedure

If you feel that you have been discriminated against by anyone at the Advocacy Center you have the right to begin this grievance procedure. We encourage you to talk to your advocate, an agency supervisor, or other staff person you feel comfortable with at the Advocacy Center to talk through your concerns. If you are not able to talk with someone or if you feel that the issue is still unresolved, you may formally file a grievance by filling out a grievance form. Grievance forms can be requested from any staff person or by emailing info@actompkins.org. The grievance form will go to the Executive Director. Filling a grievance form will not affect your ability to receive services at the Advocacy Center.

Confidentiality Policy

All of our services are confidential, which means that we are not allowed to share any information about you with people outside the agency without your clear permission. For your advocate to share information about you we need a written release of information.  This release will say who we can talk to, what information we can share, and have a date when it expires. You can revoke or take back your permission for us to share information at any time.  

There are some limits to our confidentiality, as required by law. Situations where we may have to share information without your permission include:

  • A person is believed to be actively suicidal or actively homicidal.
  • Our staff suspect that a child or teen, under 18, has been abused by a caretaker they may be required to make a report to the NYS Child Abuse Hotline. 
  • A judge issues a subpoena for any records about use of our services. It is our policy to use any legal means possible to not turn over any records without client permission. 

These are relatively rare situations and if you have any questions about what advocates can keep confidential please call our hotline anonymously and staff will answer any questions or concerns you may have.

You have the right to access your records.  If you ever want a copy of your records please talk to your advocate.