Legal Advocacy in the Criminal Justice System

Date of Publication
January, 2014

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.

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


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1979 — 2019

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