A victim advocate is a person who is trained to support a victim. Advocates offer various services to their clients so that they can be confident and safe during the trial. These services involve providing information on the case proceedings, emotional support, finding relative evidence on the case, etc. Advocates offer their victims different options available to their case and support them in the process of decision making. The role of advocates is to make victims understand the essence of the case and what to do. They don’t tell the victims what to do.
Every advocate is committed to maintain the highest level of confidentiality in their work, i.e. when communicating with the client. The level of confidentiality depends on the laws in each state, advocate’s position, education and license. It is important for the victims to ask about confidentiality before working with the advocate.
Below you can find important information on what to expect from the advocate when working with him or her:
- Information on victimization;
- Information on crime prevention;
- Information on victim’s legal rights;
- Information on criminal justice system and process;
- Information on inmates’ release or escape;
- Emotional support;
- Outline of safety plan;
- Filing victim compensation applications;
- Finding shelter and transportation option for the victim;
- Providing referrals to victims for other services e.g. arranging funerals, etc.