Legal Advocacy

  For general information only. If you are looking for advocacy support services, please see our Shelters and Services page.


Role of the Legal Advocate

Legal advocates for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking have an incredibly important role to fulfill. While they cannot give a survivor legal advice or predict the outcome of her case, there are many other ways that a legal advocate can assist a survivor as she navigates the legal system. They can explain what a survivor's options are, assist with safety planning, and discuss how those options may affect her safety. They have support skills and community connections that are critical to helping the survivor cope with the additional stress of legal proceedings.  Here are some basic ways a legal advocate can help a survivor deal with court and legal matters:

Legal Advocates- How They Can Help:

  • Support and listen - help process a situation and create a safety plan.
  • Outline the options offered by the system, how to access them, and what the process will look like.
  • Help connect a survivor to support systems and resources and connect with community and public benefits.
  • Help connect to support groups & counseling.
  • Help collect documents and think of witnesses that will assist in a case.
  • Accompany a survivor to court proceedings and provide emotional support through the process.
  • Help ensure that the survivor has time to process information and can make informed decisions.
  • Help attorneys and other support people to understand a survivors particular needs, including any cultural and language barriers.
  • Safety plan with a survivor after a legal judgment.

Finding an Attorney

Perhaps one of the most critical pieces a legal advocate can do is help a survivor find an attorney if and when the survivor decides she needs or wants one. The legal needs of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault survivors can be particularly complex issues for which an attorney is highly recommended.

Please seek the advice of an attorney if you are confronted with a specific matter that could involve state or federal laws.

Finding an Attorney in Oregon

  • - lawyer referral including Modest Means Program (low cost representation if income qualified) and pro se assistance such as document review. (800)-452-7636
  • - legal services offices across Oregon and basic law on selected topics of interest
  • - information on attorneys in Oregon and other states
  • -Washington state and northwest legal resources, also free legal Information and Referral (I&R) telephone line (206-621-7691, or 206-521-4317 TTY)
  • - information on courts and county District Attorney offices

External Links

Oregon Law Center provides free civil legal (NOT criminal) services to low income individuals.

National Crime Victims Law Institute (NCVLI), a program of the Lewis & Clark College Law School, actively promotes balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal and legislative advocacy, education initiatives, and resource sharing.

Partnership for Safety and Justice (works with people convicted of crime, survivors of crime, and the families of both to advocate for policies that make Oregon’s approach to public safety more effective and more just)

Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) provides free legal services throughout Massachusetts and in Multnomah and Washington Counties, Oregon, training for attorneys and advocates nationally, and technical assistance to Office on Violence Against Women Legal Assistance for Victims (OVW LAV) grantees.