Building Sexual Assault Advocacy Key Competencies 1

A key competency is defined as a distinct area of knowledge, skills, and ability needed to adequately address the needs of individuals who have experienced sexual violence. Key Competencies involve (i) Competency, (ii) Knowledge, (iii) Skills, (iv) Ability, and (v) Spheres of Influence.


¨ Involves the ability to meet complex demands by drawing on and mobilizing skills and resources in a particular context.

¨ Is overarching. The specific skills or actions will change depending on the uniqueness of each survivor.

¨ What is provided here is a small set of key competencies that serve as building blocks for meaningfully addressing sexual violence.


¨ A body of information applied directly to the performance of a function.

¨ Explicit knowledge refers to an organized body of information of a factual or procedural nature that makes adequate performance on the job possible if applied.

¨ Tacit knowledge is the information that we pick up or put together along the way but didn’t learn from books or classes. It’s a “feel for something.”


¨ Proficient application of manual, verbal, or mental tasks.

¨ Is an observable competence to perform a learned act.


¨ Power to perform an observable activity; the capacity to do or act

¨ Competence in an activity through the combination of knowledge and skills

¨ Abilities can be demonstrated or proven through activities or behaviors similar to those required on the job. It’s why we do role plays.

Spheres of Influence:

Sexual violence occurs in a variety of relationships between perpetrators and victims:

¨ Intimates

¤ Family (father, stepfather, uncle), serious romantic partners

¨ Friends/Close Social Circles

¤ Casual romantic partners, close friends, employers, professionals in a position of trust or authority (doctors, therapists, teachers, religious leaders, personal care aides)

¨ Social/Institutional Circles

¤ Classmates, neighbors, study partners, acquaintances, professionals (mechanics, business partners), co-workers

¨ Community

¤ Strangers, distant acquaintances, opposing/invading armies.


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