Module 1
Why Should Sexual Assault Victim Advocates Understand the Criminal Justice System?

Learning Objectives 

Purpose of This Training

Victim advocates play a critical role in many aspects of victims’ lives and decisions in the aftermath of a sexual assault. One area in which victims may seek advocates’ advice is whether to engage with the criminal justice system at all.  If they do report the crime, victims often want to know what to expect in the several phases of what can be a long and challenging process. Helping Sexual Assault Victims Navigate the Criminal Justice System and its companion state-specific guide (explained below) provide the information advocates need to be able to respond to victims’ questions about the criminal justice system in advocates’ own jurisdictions.

Helping Sexual Assault Victims Navigate the Criminal Justice System is a supplement to the victim advocate training you have received, it is not meant to be a substitute for victim advocate training. This training assumes that you already have that background and can relate this training’s explanation of the criminal justice system to your role and experience as an advocate.  Additionally, this training does not count toward the training hours or requirements in order to be certified as an advocate in any state.

This module begins with an overview of the magnitude of issues surrounding sexual assault in our society. Sexual assault is epidemic across the country and inflicts profound harm on victims, yet it is vastly under-reported and under-prosecuted. This module then provides logistical information about this training.