Clients traumatized by sexual assault deserve to be handled with empathy and care. While no one can accurately understand what it feels like to be assaulted unless they have been through a similar experience, there is still an imperative to be sensitive and caring for your clients.
While your job is to enable laws to help your clients move toward justice for crimes against them, sexual assault clients will need more than your expertise to be comfortable moving forward. Supportive environments cannot be understated.
The most effective way to build a solid case for your client is to allow your assault clients to open up. The more comfortable you can make your clients, the more confident they can tell their story. Firms like Liberty Law that specialize in sexual assault advocacy understand the importance of a strong support system for all of their clients. Let’s take a closer look at how you can help your sexual assault clients prepare for their day in court.
Explain the Legal Process
Most civilians only have a basic understanding of the legal system. It’s the legal advocate’s responsibility to ensure that every client understands how the process works. The process can be intimidating for many people, from the initial filing to depositions and court testimony. You can expect your assault clients to be hesitant about the process and need reassurance. In plain language, explain each step while ensuring their safety and confidentiality.
Review the Facts
Every little detail matters when building a case. The more information that can be collected from your clients, the more legal avenues can be explored. Building trust through AEL (Active Empathetic Listening) with your sexual assault clients will help them feel more comfortable revealing tough details about their attack. Always go through the story several times and focus on new details in each retelling. As the story unfolds, you can encourage openness and transparency by providing needed support and optional therapies. Reviewing the facts with the assistance of a specialized therapist can help open up more of the unclear details about the attack.
Testifying in public is an unnerving experience for most people and especially traumatic for assault victims. Having to face their attacker in itself can be unnerving and disturbing. The most effective way to help your clients build confidence before their trial is to practice their testimonials as often as possible. Explore each avenue the defense lawyers could target so there are as few surprises as possible.
Support Team Coordination
Your expertise in the legal field is more important to your client than your specialized therapeutic skills. When dealing with sexual assault victims, according to RAINN.org, it’s important to recognize that the most effective service you can provide is through a professional team. The coordination of specialists, therapists, and support staff should always be a priority for all your sexual assault clients.
Sexual assault cases can be emotionally draining for everyone involved, but none more so than your client. Building trust, providing clinical support, and focusing on your legal skills will make you an effective champion for victims that deserve justice.