If you have been the victim of crime, in certain circumstances you may be assigned a legal advocate. The legal advocate is an attorney who can help you and safeguard your interests throughout the criminal justice process, at no cost to yourself.
The role of the legal advocate
A legal advocate can
Help, advise and guide you while the police are investigating the case and if the case goes to court later on.
Give you advice if you are afraid the perpetrator will contact you.
Help you get compensation – by calculating your claim for compensation and submitting it during the court proceedings and to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Explain how the criminal justice process works and accompany you if you have to testify in court as a witness.
Who is entitled to a legal advocate?
If you have been raped or experienced another similarly serious sexual assault, you will be assigned a legal advocate unless you refuse that option.
If you have experienced another type of crime against your person such as violence or robbery, you must ask the police for a legal advocate if you want one.
The police will tell you about your options for obtaining a legal advocate.
The court decides who is eligible for a legal advocate. The court also decides which legal advocate to assign. If you want a specific attorney to help you, you must request that person.
If you have been raped or suffered a similar type of assault, you will have an opportunity to talk to your legal advocate before the police interview you the first time. In some cases, the police may need to ask you questions before you have spoken with your legal advocate.