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Legal Advocacy in the Criminal Justice System


The criminal justice system can be daunting for sexual assault survivors. The realities of this system are unknown by most, and the process is not inherently victim-centered. Final decisions about how a case proceeds and resolves are not ultimately in the control of survivors. However, active advocate involvement from reporting to sentencing can help to ensure that survivors’ voices are heard throughout, their needs are met, and their rights are upheld. When driven by the strength and wishes of survivors, legal advocacy at the individual and system levels can shape a process in which survivor involvement can be healing and empowering.

In this webinar, the presenter will discuss:

  1. Multiple roles of a legal advocate;
  2. Key advocacy points in the criminal justice process, including: reporting, filing decisions, decline meetings, meet and greets, defense interviews, and negotiations/plea decisions;
  3. Strategies to navigate common challenges; and
  4. Partnerships: How to be recognized as an integral part of the process.

Presenter Megan Allen

Megan Allen is the Legal Advocacy Manager at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. Megan has worked at the agency since 2000 and oversees a legal advocate team of 11, with a total caseload of around 800 cases. Megan has also provided county wide trainings about legal advocacy, Sexual Assault Protection Orders, and the criminal justice process. She is also the Intake Coordinator for the Sexual Assault Legal Services Assistance (SALSA) program in collaboration with the Sexual Violence Law Center. Prior to Megan’s work at KCSARC she was a residential supervisor and counselor working with youth involved in long term treatment for criminal, behavioral, and mental health issues. Megan has a BA degree in Sociology with an Interdisciplinary in Criminal Justice.

Presenter DeAnn Yamamoto, Deputy Executive Director, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

DeAnn Yamamoto joined the staff at King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) in 1984 and is currently the Deputy Executive Director. She oversees all program planning for client services, including a 24-hour crisis and information line. Yamamoto supervises a professional staff of 25 including therapists, crisis counselors and advocates. She is also responsible for staff development and organizational design for the agency. With KCSARC, she has created a series of publications for parents and sexual assault victims, such as Especially for Parents and Especially for Parents of Adolescents and A Healing Celebration: A Group Treatment Manual for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault. Yamamoto has over 30 years experience in designing and implementing services for assault victims

Recording & Materials

Reviewed: April 8th, 2016