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Justice System Advocacy
The Witness/Victim Service Center provides justice system advocacy for victims of violent crime. Advocacy services are free.
Witness/Victim advocates can work with victims whose cases are in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in both the General and Juvenile Divisions, or in the Cleveland Municipal Court. Spanish speaking advocates are on staff and are ready to help victims who speak Spanish. Interpretation services are available for victims who speak languages other than English or Spanish.
- What does a victim advocate do?
The role of a victim advocate includes: Assisting victims in making a safety plan, helping people to understand what is happening throughout the court process, promoting victims’ opportunity to be heard, supporting victims as they navigate the court process and providing encouragement along the way, and assisting victims as they find other community resources to help them stay safe and healthy, like finding shelter or food pantries.
In addition to navigating the court process and assisting with safety planning, a victim advocate can help with protection orders and applications to the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Fund, which is administered by the Ohio Attorney General.
A victim advocate is not an attorney and cannot provide legal advice or representation.
- How do I get a victim advocate?
If you’ve made a police report, all you have to do is call us at 216-443-7345 or come to see us at the Family Justice Center, located at 75 Erieview Plaza, 5th Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Please try to file a police report at the police station in the jurisdiction where the crime took place as soon as possible after a crime has happened.
- What should I do if I’ve received a subpoena?
If you receive a subpoena to appear in court, please plan on attending court on the date and time listed in the subpoena. Call your advocate, telling him/her the day, time and courtroom that you are scheduled to appear in. If your advocate is not in when you call, you can leave a confidential voice-mail message. On the day when you are to be in court, your advocate will meet with you and attend the hearing with you.
- What should I do if I think I need a civil protection order?
You can come to the Family Justice Center from 8:30-4:30, Monday through Friday for assistance with the paper work. You will need the full name, address and date of birth of the person you are filing against. You will also need a photo ID.
Services for Children Exposed to Violence
Research has shown children who witness ongoing violence are more likely than their peers to perpetrate violence as adults, or become victims themselves. By providing guidance and assistance to families in need, Witness/Victim aims to end the tragic generational cycle of violence. Two programs are available:
Children Who Witness Violence
Children Who Witness Violence is a program that assists families whose children have witnessed violence. Specially trained workers respond to the scene of the crime or schedule a next-day appointment. Services include crisis management, emotional well-being assessment, referrals for service, and ongoing counseling if needed.
- How can I get in touch with the Children Who Witness Violence workers?
Ask a police officer or social worker to make a referral for you. Or, you can call FrontLine Services at 216-623-6888.
Defending Childhood is a national initiative, implemented locally by the Witness/Victim Service Center and community partners. Defending Childhood helps to identify children who are experiencing trauma as a result of their exposure to violence. Ongoing treatment is provided.
- How can I talk with someone about Defending Childhood?
Call us at 216-443-7345 and ask to talk with someone about the program.