ADVOCACY for victims receiving civil legal assistance from legal staff, victims whose partners are enmeshed in the criminal justice system, callers to the helpline, and those who are not yet ready for legal representation. Advocates, who often work closely with legal staff, help victims navigate through the maze of public and private, court referral and self-selected services. In an average month, advocates see more than 275 clients. Advocates provide survivors of domestic violence with comprehensive legal and non-legal services in order to facilitate safety and self-sufficiency for survivors, promote perpetrator accountability and to encourage and develop a supportive community response to survivors and their children.
The long-term Advocates’ mission is to provide survivors of intimate partner abuse with comprehensive support and advocacy as they navigate the legal, health and social service systems. First and foremost these services are designed to facilitate safety and self-sufficiency through self-determination for the survivors. Our approach to advocacy is based on the strength/empowerment model of advocacy where the survivor’s expertise regarding her life is listened to and honored.
The long-term advocates work collaboratively with the members of the DVAC legal team. The Legal team consists of an Attorney and a Legal Assistant who work in conjunction with the Advocate to create a triad of comprehensive services. Each triad member is responsible for providing the survivor with the employee’s own specialized service while acknowledging and incorporating the expertise of the individual survivor. Advocates coordinate their services with other agency’s service providers and work closely with all agencies and institutions that will assist the survivor with her safety and self-sufficiency needs.
The stated goals of the advocates are to provide survivors of intimate partner abuse with comprehensive legal and non-legal services in order to facilitate safety and self-sufficiency for survivors, promote perpetrator accountability and to encourage and develop a supportive community response to survivors and their children. Some of the services provided include but are not limited to the following:
- Individual Advocacy
- System Advocacy
- Long-Term Advocacy
- Domestic Violence Education
- Risk/Lethality Assessments and Safety Planning
- Legal Information
- Explaining Legal and Non-Legal Options
- Crisis Counseling
- Referrals to Domestic Violence and Non-Domestic Violence Community Resources
- Referrals to DVAC Legal Team
- Referrals and Sponsorship Regarding Educational Scholarships
- Accompaniment to All Relevant Appointments and/or Court Hearings
- Arranging for Emergency Cash Funds