Legislation should ensure that complainants/survivors have access to advocates who will be present and advise them through the legal process, including filing for orders of protection, accompanying them to court, and filing for restitution or compensation available by statute. Legislation should provide that these advocates must be trained in counseling, in domestic violence and dowry-related violence issues, and in the law and practice of their country. Trainings should be standardized to ensure a uniform response. Laws must provide these advocates with the infrastructural support to effectively carry out their work. (See: Women’s Human Rights Training, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)
Advocates’ roles in enforcing protection orders should focus on providing the complainant/survivor with information should they choose to relocate; ensure they have copies of the protection order; work with other civil and criminal justice professionals and community members to promote effective enforcement of protection orders, according to the wishes and needs of survivors; provide help to survivors during the enforcement process, (e.g. accompanying them to retrieve their possessions or arranging for a police escort; work with police to enforce protection orders issued locally or in another jurisdiction; work with courts to strengthen victim safety and ensure perpetrator compliance with the order) and; work with the community to improve enforcement (e.g. helping complainant/survivors discuss enforcement of protection orders with school personnel as it related to their children).
See: A Guide for Effective Issuance & Enforcement of Protection Orders, National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges.
Legislation should reflect the importance of the confidentiality of the relationship between an advocate and a complainant/survivor. (See: Section on Confidentiality for complainant/survivors. For example, the law of Georgia states that “The information on state of physical and psychological status of the victim shall be confidential and its disclosure shall be permitted only in cases provided by law.” Article 19)
(See: Fuller, Rana SA, “The Importance of Confidentiality Between Domestic Violence Advocates and Domestic Violence Victims,” StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)
Also, legislation should state that the role of advocates is not to mediate between the parties or facilitate reconciliation, but to provide the complainant/survivor with information about her legal rights and remedies and assistance. (See: Mediation, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)
For more on the relationship of advocates and complainant/survivors see: Davies, Jill, “When Battered Women Stay…Advocacy Beyond Leaving” (2008); and Uniform Protocol for the Management of Victims, Survivors, and Witnesses of Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences.
Previous Topic Confidentiality for complainant/survivors