Court Advocacy

Safe Haven's Court Advocate offers survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking with accompaniment, support, information on navigating the justice system and victim rights, and answer questions about the court process. Court advocates are not able to provide legal advice, however, they can offer:

  • Assistance with filing for a protection order
  • Information on victims rights
  • Assistance with applying for crime victims compensation
  • Assistance with registering for VINElink victim notification system
  • Accompaniment to court hearings
  • Accompaniment to interviews with prosecutors and law enforcement
  • Assistance with filing a police report
  • Assistance with developing an individualized safety plan
  • Assistance with accessing community resources
  • Assistance with applying for legal aid programs
  • Facilitation of communication with law enforcement, attorneys, prosecutors, and other legal staff.

All court advocacy services are free and confidential

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Building Your Case: How to Document Abuse

If you are in an abusive relationship and are in the process of taking (or deciding to take) legal action against your abusive partner, documentation of your partner’s abusive behaviors can be an important component of your case.

It’s worth noting that each state has different laws about what evidence and documentation can be used in court. Speaking with a legal advocate in your state might better prepare you for your unique situation (our advocates at the Hotline can help locate a legal advocate near you). According to WomensLaw, in most states evidence can include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Verbal testimony from you or your witnesses
  • Medical reports of injuries from the abuse
  • Pictures (dated) of any injuries
  • Police reports of when you or a witness called the police
  • Household objects torn or broken by the abuser
  • Pictures of your household in disarray after a violent episode
  • Pictures of weapons used by the abuser against you
  • A personal diary or calendar in which you documented the abuse as it happened

If you’re not sure if making documentation of your abuse would be safe, always go with your gut. It’s very important to keep in mind that you are the expert on your situation, and what works for one person may not be a safe idea for another person.

If you have legal questions about your specific case, please consult an attorney. Safe Haven court advocates are not attorneys and can not provide legal advice. 

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Protection Orders

  • A protective order is a legal document intended to prohibit your partner from physically coming near you or harming or harassing you, your children, or other loved ones.
  • You can apply for a protective order at courthouses.
  • Protective orders may be able to put a stop to physical abuse but they depend on your partner’s adherence to the law and law enforcement’s willingness to enforce the protective order. Psychological abuse is still possible, and a protective order should never replace a safety plan.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline 

Protections for non-U.S. citizens

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline 

Other Legal Resources

Adopted from: National Domestic Violence Hotline