New Web Course: Helping Sexual Assault Victims Navigate the Criminal Justice System

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Legal Momentum announces a new online training course, Helping Sexual Assault Victims Navigate the Criminal Justice System, designed to prepare non-lawyer victim advocates to help their clients navigate the criminal justice process. 

The criminal justice system can be daunting, even for those well-versed in its process. For sexual assault victims, navigating the criminal justice system can be traumatic in itself. Victim advocates can play a significant role in helping victims navigate the criminal justice system and helping ensure that the system functions with fairness and respect for all involved. But for many victim advocates, the criminal justice system and how they fit into it is a confusing maze. Legal Momentum's new, comprehensive online training will help victim advocates understand the criminal justice system and where they fit into it.

This course provides a thorough overview of the criminal justice system and identifies stages during which victim advocates can be particularly helpful in assisting a sexual assault victim navigating that system, including during medical forensic sexual assault examinations. It also explains how other processes—such as civil cases and campus sexual assault proceedings—interact with the criminal justice process and how advocates can help sexual assault victims navigate concurrent processes.

The course has 12 modules covering the following topics:

  1. Why Should Sexual Assault Victim Advocates Understand the Criminal Justice System?
  2. Overview of the Criminal Justice System
  3. Victims' Rights
  4. Victim Restitution and Compensation
  5. Medical Forensic Sexual Assault Examinations: What Are They, and What Can They Tell The Courts?
  6. Considerations for Advocacy on Behalf of Victims from Vulnerable Populations
  7. How Advocates Can Support Sexual Assault Victims During Every Stage of the Criminal Justice System Process
  8. Issue Spotting: When Might a Sexual Assault Victim Need Private Counsel to Navigate the Criminal Justice System?
  9. Civil Systems and How They Interact with the Criminal Case
  10. Language Access: Interpreters in Adult Victim Sexual Assault Cases
  11. How Accurate Language about Sexual Assault Supports Victims in the Criminal Justice System
  12. Campus Sexual Assault: Institutional Reporting and Disciplinary Processes

The course also includes the ability to create a customized guide with state laws to enhance advocates' ability to use this information in their everyday work. The course is offered free of charge and is self-paced, allowing participants to stop at any point and pick up where they left off whenever they are ready. It can be accessed at

Please address any questions, concerns, or requests for technical assistance to

This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-TA-AX-K029, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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Legal Momentum