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Online Handbook

Advocating for Women in the Criminal Justice System

in Cases of Rape, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

This online handbook is a work in progress. Some of the
chapters in this handbook are linked and available to you now.
And others will be added as we complete them.

Table of Contents


A Word on Justice for Women

Part IMapping the Obstacles to Criminal Justice for

The Pivotal Role of the Criminal Justice System in Stopping Violence Against Women
The Problem: Systematic Denial of Protection and Justice to Women
Six Principal Obstacles to Equal Protection and Justice for Women


Near Absolute Police and Prosecutorial Discretion
2. Institutionalized Sexism and Racism
3. The Absence of Societal Mechanisms for Controlling the
Criminal Justice System
4. The Cooptation of Victim Advocates and of Rape and
Domestic Violence Crisis Centers
5. The Invisibility of Denial of Equal Protection and Justice
6. The Error of Ignoring District Attorney Powers

Part IIFirst Line Criminal Justice Advocacy, Rape, Domestic Violence, and Child Abuse

A. Sources of Criminal Justice System Information
B. Know Your Client's Rights
C. Domestic Violence: Police Response and Investigation
    If Your Client Has Not Yet Reported to the Police
If Your Client Has Already Made a Police Report
  FORM I: Form for Evaluating the Police Response
to a Domestic Violence Call
FORM II: Form for Evaluating the Domestic Violence Police Report
List of Domestic Violence Related Crimes and their Codes
Other Official Police Documents Generated in Domestic Violence Cases
Common Police Errors in Responding to Domestic Violence
Getting Corrections Made to the Police Response or Police Report
Advocating for Domestic Violence Victims Who Have Been Arrested for Domestic Violence
D. Sex Crimes: Police Response and Investigation
A Typical Rape Case Police Investigation
The Easy ABC of Ditching a Rape Case
Advocating for Victims of Sex Crimes during
the Police Investigation
Form for Evaluating Police Rape Investigation
Improving Sex Crime Victim Interviews,
12 Do's and Don'ts
E. Arrest and Arraignment: Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes
  If the suspect has not been arrested
If the suspect has been arrested
  Criminal Protective Orders
Advantages of Criminal Protective Orders
Disadvantages of Criminal Protective Orders
How to Obtain a Criminal Protective Order
Sample Letter to the Judge
Has the District Attorney Filed Adequate Charges in the Case?
F. Advocating for Victims of Violence Against Women at the
District Attorney's Office
  Part 1 ~ A few general points of information for Dealing with the DA

Part 2 ~ Advocating for Victims at the District Attorney's Office during the Pre-prosecution Phase

  1. Has your case been sent to the DA? What is the status of your case in the DA process?
  2. Make contact early on with the attorney assigned to your case. Stay in communication with the attorney throughout the case.
  3. Is the district attorney's decision about your case appropriate given the facts and circumstances of the case?
  Part 3 ~  Advocating for Victims at the District Attorney's Office during the Prosecution Stage
G. The Victim and the Judge
H. Pre-Sentencing Probation Reports and Victim Impact Statements
I. Probation and Parole
Part IIISecond Line Advocacy:
Strategies for Correcting Inadequate Criminal Justice Response
Advocacy Strategies and Options
  Face-to-Face Meetings with the Authorities
Put It in Writing! Put it in Writing! Put it in Writing!
Monitor, Uncover, and Enter Evidence into the
Case Yourself
  Part 1 ~ Tracking and Evaluating Evidence
  Part 2 ~ Uncovering Additional Evidence
  Part 3 ~ Gather and Enter the Evidence into the Case
Take It to the Courthouse Steps
Use Community Powers Outside the
Criminal Justice System
Go to the press
Organize and Demonstrate

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Web site by S. Henry Wild