Most prosecuting authorities have someone working in their office whose job title is “Domestic Violence Advocate.” Generally, the people in this position are female and trained social workers. Their job is to assist alleged victims of domestic violence throughout the time that the domestic violence case is moving through the court system.
The Victim’s Advocate will attempt to contact the victim by either letter or telephone to gather additional information about the relationship and about the incident that brought the individuals into the court system. Their job is to act as a guide for the alleged victim through the duration of the case. They are not attorney’s and cannot offer legal advice. If an alleged victim has legal questions they should seek answers from an attorney of their own. It is not appropriate for either a prosecuting attorney or the defendant’s attorney to offer legal advice to the alleged victim. That being said, either of these lawyers or the victim’s advocate may be able to provide a referral to an attorney who can answer a victim’s legal questions.
It is important to understand that the domestic violence advocate is not there for the alleged perpetrator. They are an employee of the prosecutor’s office and any information that they gather that reflects negatively on the defendant will be given to the attorney prosecuting the case. A defendant in a domestic violence case should never speak with a victim’s advocate.
If you have questions about the role of a victim’s advocate, contact a Washington domestic violence lawyer for answers.