Court Advocacy at HAVEN
Advocates provide support and education for victims moving through the legal system, as well as immediate crisis intervention and emotional support for victims and their families after an assault. Advocates at HAVEN provide a safe, supportive and nonjudgmental atmosphere for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault to begin to rebuild trust, to develop a sense of security, and to reduce feelings of isolation and self-blame. Advocates assist victims with their concerns in a confidential manner without interfering with the medical, reporting, investigative or court processes.
All advocacy services are confidential and free of charge. This program is supported by VOCA (Victims of Crime Act).
Criminal Court Advocates at HAVEN work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to educate them on their legal options. Advocates are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice.
Advocates can provide emotional support and safety planning to help a victim through a legal process. They can also help victims connect to community resources that might assist with employment, financial and housing needs.
Court advocates can also provide feedback to legal personnel on the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence — the goal is to enhance the legal system’s response to victims involved in the system. Advocates are available during special group offerings that focus on legal questions and options, such as “what to know about divorce.”
Advocates are also available to provide expert witness testimony for prosecutors. There is a fee for this service to cover time and travel costs.
Court Advocates also function as “First Responders” by going to Oakland County hospitals and police departments when a victim has been recently assaulted. They are available by pager 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to attend to the victim’s need for support. They provide crisis intervention, safety planning, and education on legal and support options.
The Civil Legal Response Team (CLRT) is a partnership between HAVEN and Lakeshore Legal Aid funded by the Federal Office on Violence Against Women and the U.S. Department of Justice. The CLRT serves survivors of sexual assault facing civil legal needs such as:
- Child Support/Spousal Support
- Employment (wrongful termination, sexual harassment, denial of leave)
- Housing (recovering property from an abuser, Section 8/HUD issues, evictions, landlord/tenant, getting out of leases due to abuse or rape)
- Income Maintenance (difficulty renewing Social Security or DHS benefits, unemployment)
- Education (sexual harassment, risk of losing financial aid after an assault, Title IX issues)
- Consumer Finance (debt collections, past due utility or medical bills, separating joint banking accounts from abusers, small claims)
- Personal Injury (wanting to sue someone for a financial judgement after an assault)
The CLRT can provide FREE of charge: information & consultation, coordination to resources, advocacy and direct representation.
If you have ever experienced something sexual against your will, where you did not consent, you may be able to work with an advocate or attorney on your legal matter. The legal matter does not have to be directly related to a past or current sexual assault. The CLRT is a trauma-informed collaboration tasked with serving the LGBTQ, African-American and Elderly communities throughout Oakland County and the surrounding areas. Please contact HAVEN's 24-hour crisis line to learn more at 248-334-1284.
If you need help or would like more information about the Advocacy program, call our Crisis and Support Line at 248-334-1274, or chat with us online.