What is Legal Advocacy?

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At Safe Passage we realize that the criminal justice system can be hard to understand and overwhelming for survivors of abuse. Our Legal Advocates can help make this process easier and a lot less scary. If you’re interested in learning more about our Legal Advocacy Program, read on. This description is meant to explain what we can do for a client as their legal advocate.

In the state of Illinois, we have three types of protective orders that a client may be interested in obtaining: an Order of Protection, a Civil No Contact Order, and a Stalking No Contact Order. Legal Advocates help a client understand what each order entails and guides that client when selecting an order. For example, when applying for an Order of Protection, a legal advocate explains each section to the client, helps the client complete paperwork and assist the client in applying for an emergency order which is in place 14 – 21 days. After that, the client will have a court date to extend the original Order of Protection and the Advocate can help the client request a two-year Plenary Order.

Legal Advocates can provide court support, too. These individuals can attend criminal or family court cases with clients. Often times, a client’s offender is required to attend the same court date as a client. We understand it may be triggering for a client to see their abuser, so a legal advocate can also attend court on a client’s behalf, meaning the client does not have to be in attendance.  

If needed, a legal advocate is able to attend meetings with a State Attorney or police departments alongside their client. When going to police departments, Legal Advocates cannot be in the room when an investigation or questioning is going on, but are happy to answer any questions before or after that session.

At Safe Passage, our advocates also provide medical support. When an individual arrives at a police station, Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, or Valley West Hospital with domestic violence or sexual assault related injuries, a Safe Passage Advocate will also arrive. Our advocates are there to help these individuals understand the process of an Evidence Collection Kit, options for reporting the crime, and the rights the individual has as a victim. Safe Passage Advocates respond to medical calls 24/7.

Furthermore, Legal Advocates assist in training local officers, nurses, and other personnel on victim-centered approaches. Our legal advocates also act as Confidential Advisors for students of Kishwaukee Community College every Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Their role as Confidential Advisors is to lay out options, listen, and support the individual. The Legal Advocates can explain reporting criminally to the police, or through Title IX with the school. If interested in learning more, please call 815.756.5228 or stop by their office located on the second floor of Kishwaukee College. 

At the end of the day, Legal Advocates are here to assist a client, guide them through the justice system, and support their decisions. If you need to get in contact with a Legal Advocate at Safe Passage, or have any questions, please give us a call: 815.756.5228. We are here to help. All services at Safe Passage are free and confidential.

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