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Legal Advocacy

The purpose of Legal Advocacy is to support and inform victims so they have the courage to seek legal remedies against offenders. KCSARC provides the largest, most comprehensive sexual assault legal advocacy program in the country, with services in both English and Spanish.

NEED

The Legal Advocates are the only participants in the legal system whose sole focus is on the victim. The criminal justice system presents many barriers that can discourage victims from coming forward. These barriers include accessibility and safety, in addition to length of time, which can take two years or more.

KCSARC recently provided service on a case that took 6 years to get to trial. The case, in which the victim was a child, was continued over 100 times and had 5 different prosecutors assigned. It went to trial in 2012, and after a hung jury was dismissed in 2013. The KCSARC Legal Advocate was the one steady source of continuity for the victim and her family.

SUCCESSES

  • KCSARC has provided Legal Advocacy for victims since its inception in 1976:

  • In 2012, the program served more than 1,400 victims and their family members.

  • 70% of victims are children and youth under age 18.

  • KCSARC provides 90% of the sexual assault legal advocacy in King County.

 

Legal Advocates guide victims through the confusing legal process, their role is to:

  • Provide victims with information about the criminal justice process.

  • Accompany victims to all interviews.

  • Secure protective orders.

  • Assist in trial preparation, court accompaniment, and sentencing accompaniment, including assistance with victim impact statements.
     

Legal Advocates connect victims to other needed services:

  • Victims often need services such as emergency housing, counseling, parent education (when victims are children), and employment.

  • Legal Advocates support victims as they go through the criminal justice system:

  • Legal advocacy allows detectives and prosecutors to focus on their areas of specialty rather than on victim support. Without the support of legal advocates, many victims would drop out of the legal process.

INTERESTING FACTS

Among Legal Advocacy clients whose cases closed in the past year:

  • More than 93% felt supported through the legal process and understood the process better.

  • More than 92% reported that legal advocates linked them to other needed services and support, both within KCSARC and elsewhere.

  • Legal Advocates make a positive impact on a victim’s ability to secure a Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO):

Legal Advocates specialize in serving specific populations, such as:

  • Children and youth.

  • Victims of cyber crimes.

  • Adult rape victims.

  • Vulnerable adults.

  • Commercially sexually exploited children and youth.

  • Individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ).

  • Spanish-speaking population providing linguistically and culturally appropriate services.