Dove House has two full time Victim Advocates on staff who work with client families, assisting them through the investigation process as well as the court process, providing emotional support and making appropriate referrals. Each child / family is greeted by the Victim Advocate assigned to their case at the front door when they arrive at Dove House, who makes them feel immediately at ease and welcome. As the interview with the child victim is taking place, our Victim Advocate uses this time to get to know the parent/guardian and makes an assessment of the overall needs of the family. She assists the child and family through the investigation process as well as the court process, providing emotional support and assisting with counseling referrals. Encouraging and referring child victims and non-offending family members to follow through with appropriate counseling services is an integral part of our Victim Advocates' job. Our Victim Advocates work with many of our client families for up to a three year period.
Prior to a case actually going to trial, our Victim Advocate assists the prosecutor in taking the child through “court school”, familiarizing the child and family with the courtroom. This helps greatly to ease the child’s fears about what will happen in court. Throughout the duration of each case, our Victim Advocate stays in constant touch with the child and non-offending family members, consistently assessing each family’s needs, checking on counseling progress, and keeping them informed of all aspects of their case, including perpetrator status, court dates, etc. When required, our Victim Advocate schedules meetings between the child/family and the Assistant District Attorney to discuss the legal aspects of their case. All follow-up meetings with the child and family (e.g. court preparation, etc.) take place in our friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere of Dove House, rather than a sterile office environment. Some families need support beyond the court process; in these situations, our Victim Advocates offer referrals for long-term services that are needed.
Our Victim Advocates constantly receive training that enhances their skills and knowledge, enabling them to be highly effective in helping our families with a variety of needs.