Erin Vlamis has worked at the WCA for almost three and a half years. Starting as a Court Advocate, she went on to become Court Advocate Coordinator, and for the last four months has been working as the Court Advocate Manager. There are four full-time and two part-time court advocates on staff currently, as well as three Court Advocate Volunteers. Court Advocates are available at the Ada County Courthouse Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm and at the WCA main offices. Anyone who has experienced domestic or sexual abuse is able to seek Court Advocacy services.
So, what does the Court Advocacy program cover? “The Court Advocacy Program provides services for victims who are interested in navigating the civil legal system,” says Erin. This may include walking clients through the processes of petitioning for a protection order, family law cases like divorce or child custody, immigration cases and more. Court Advocates are also available to be in the court room with protection order petitioners, sitting at the table to provide support and clarification when needed. A key part of the Court Advocacy Program is safety planning. A plan is created to try to keep the client as safe as possible—whether they’re planning on staying in that relationship, trying to leave—whatever their individual circumstances may be.
For Erin, the most rewarding part of being a part of this team is, “seeing people navigate the system successfully—working with someone from start to finish of their case. We hear from them that they’re continuing to receive services like therapy from the WCA, that their kids are getting to go to therapy, clients describing where they’re at now compared to where they started–we can see how empowered they feel after navigating these systems that are not easily navigable.”
The WCA is fortunate to have the Court Advocacy Program to help bridge the gap between clients and legal services that could potentially make the difference in someone’s life.
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