Have you ever wondered what a court advocate does at the Partnership Advocacy Center of Pike County? Or maybe you haven’t until now!
Advocates are the pillars of intervention efforts to support those who have been subjected to intimate partner violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this year's theme is #Every1KnowsSome1. We would like to give you a glimpse of the role of a court advocate.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you will find court advocates at the Pike County Court during criminal arraignments and pretrials. The court advocates prepare Temporary Protection Orders for survivors wanting protection from their abusers. Advocates are trained to be trauma informed and to make the court proceedings as comfortable for the survivor as possible.
Advocates will explain the court process and criminal justice system in terms that is easy to understand. If a survivor does not want to be at the hearings but wants notification, the advocate is there for that also. A survivor need only express to their advocate their wishes and the advocate will provide them to the court.
Survivors can exercise their victims’ rights by signing a Marsy’s Law Rights Request assigning a court advocate as their representative for most hearings and the advocate will notify the survivor of the court proceedings and outcomes. Court advocates do more than just accompany a survivor to court hearings.
A court advocate also works closely with our community partners such as the local law enforcement, mental health providers, Community Action, Job and Family Services, local school districts and more. Court advocates provide referrals for survivors to help meet their individual needs. Throughout the day, advocates also receive crisis calls.
During these calls, court advocates listen to a survivor’s situation and assist them with creating a personalized safety plan, providing them with possible options for protection, and in some cases assessing the situation for possible emergency shelter placement. The Partnership also has a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, which handles rape crisis calls, 24/7.
The Partnership is listed on all major state and federal hotlines for sexual violence, when a call is placed to one of those hotlines, the survivor is provided the Partnership’s number as the local rape crisis center. The Partnership handles crisis calls every day of the week, all year long, at all hours of the day and night. The responsibilities of a court advocate are extensive.
Court advocates provide education about healthy relationships, assertiveness, and boundaries. Advocates also provide you with emotional support, support to family and friends, helping them through the process and assisting them in helping you.
Advocates can also help you with assessing help from Victim’s of Crime Compensation as well as assisting with violations of your victims’ rights. Although court advocates cannot provide you with legal advice, an advocate can answer your questions about the laws related to sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and other crimes you may have survived.
One of the most difficult things a survivor has the right to do is address the court at the sentencing hearing of an abuser. A court advocate can assist you with preparing your impact statement. In the event that you are unable to read it to the court, a court advocate can read it to the court for you; many times this makes a difference in sentencing.
It is not easy to come forward when you have been belittled and beaten down, that is why the Partnership’s advocates are available to be the voice of the survivor in Pike County Courts.
We believe survivors, we understand what you are going through, we know how hard it is to trust someone and how challenging it can be to tell someone what is happening to you. #Every1KnowsSome1, and the advocates at the Partnership Advocacy Center of Pike County understand your trauma and are here to help.