A Victim’s Legal Team: The Collaboration Between Civil Attorneys and Victim Advocates and Why it is Important

Thomas Goodwin & Keri Black | September 22 | 9:00-10:00 AM | Room 2584

When it comes to the criminal and civil justice process, victims of crime do not often know how to navigate the system. Because appointed counsel is usually only provided for defendants, victims are also left without any legal guidance or information about their rights as a victim of crime. Victim advocates from rape crisis and domestic violence resource centers are often left to “bridge the gap” of legal services for victims. However, because victim advocates are not licensed attorneys, there is very little they can do to provide guidance and advice to victims under the law. Fortunately, there are licensed private attorneys in some communities that are willing to partner with sexual and domestic violence advocates to provide more comprehensive legal services to victims of crime. This presentation aims to provide an example of how a partnership between legal advocates and attorneys can help to bridge this gap in victim services.

Presentation Objectives:

·       Provide information on how professional partnerships between legal advocates and attorneys can be a possible solution to the lack of legal resources available to crime victims

·       Encourage advocates and attorneys in the audience to develop partnerships within their communities that can benefit the clients they serve

·       Start a dialogue about civil legal remedies within the criminal justice process

·       Stress the importance of an advocate’s role in the Civil Protection Order process

·       Share examples of cases in which a partnership between an advocate and attorney was successful

About the Presenters