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MCAO Latest News

Posted on: April 27, 2022

MCAO's Court Advocates: Help for All Victims of Crime

A court advocate supporting a victim

Every year, Maricopa County residents are unexpectedly affected by crime. Crime can impact anyone regardless of age or gender, where they live or work. It doesn't discriminate. While crime is unexpected, Maricopa County residents can count on the County Attorney's Victim Services Division to support them through this experience. Supporting victims of crime doesn't follow a standard pattern as crime affects everyone differently. A victim's reaction may depend on the type of crime they experienced, whether the crime was carried out by someone they know, such as a friend or family member, and their lived experience. Some victims may experience short-term effects of anger or fear. Others may develop more severe, long-lasting, and life-altering effects such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

The Victim Services Division has 9 Court Advocates Bureaus and more than 50 victim advocates that provide specialized support to these victims. The Bureaus include Child Advocacy, Community Based Advocacy East and West, Field Response, Property and Financial Crimes, Special Victims Advocacy, Survivor Advocacy and Support, Victim Compensation, and Victim Information and Restitution. Advocates from these bureaus provide victims with a wide range of support, from helping them understand their rights and the criminal justice process, including the order of hearings and what to expect during the trial, to responding to their emotional and psychological needs to ensuring a victim's safety and providing them access to housing and financial resources.

Our Victim Advocates help in any way they can, and their dedication makes a difference in the lives of crime victims. Hear from them about their work and why they advocate for victims.

Field Response Bureau

"Court Advocacy is a unique position that no other Victim Services agency has in Arizona. We work as a team, and the focus is to provide a quick response to victims looking for information about their case and arrive at court unaccompanied and usually unannounced. I enjoy working with the victims as they learn their rights and how to navigate the criminal justice system."

"The Court Advocacy position provides so much variety and spontaneity. Every day is different. For example, we can accompany a next of kin to court on a homicide case and then work with a victim of an auto theft crime and then be assigned to accompany a guardian of a child victim of abuse."

"The best part of my job is that I get to work with a great team of committed, compassionate, and hard-working advocates."

Child Advocacy Bureau

"The advocates in the Children's Bureau are dedicated to the minor victims' voice being heard and not to retraumatize them but to empower them, make them stronger and support them in the criminal justice system."

"The Children's Bureau Advocates are filled with a type of compassion that provides a safe and comfortable environment to make sure child victims have a voice."

"Teamwork and communication are the keys to advocacy in the Children's Bureau since we work with the prosecutors in our office and many different agencies working with the families."

Special Victims BureauPhoto of MCAO's Special Victims Advocate

"Our advocates assist victims of sexual assault and family violence. They are presented with a common challenge in family violence cases where the victims are sympathetic to the defendant. Our advocates treat all victims with dignity and respect regardless of their position. They also provide emotional support, services, and resources to adult victims of sexual assault."

"Our advocates assist victims from various walks of life. They uplift the fallen, encourage the broken, and support victims ready to heal."

Survivors Advocacy and Support

"I feel honored to be a Survivors' Bureau Advocate and provide a space for individuals/families to feel safe in expressing their grief— in sadness, anger, frustration, heartbreak, disbelief, or countless other emotions along the spectrum of loss."

"Many who experience traumatic loss feel an understandable drive to seek immediate justice. However, many of our cases take years to resolve. I feel like my purpose as an advocate is not only to inform but also to empower through sharing practices of self-care when grief feels overwhelming."

"When a family member calls to share that they are upset and need more information, that means they trust me enough to reach out for help. That takes strength from someone who feels as if they have no strength left."

"I have learned that grief cannot be "fixed," but I can be there for someone experiencing it. I can hold space and be there with that person if they allow it. There are no right words to say but being there to listen is a gift. It teaches us all patience, empathy, and resilience."

Learn more about MCAO's Victim Services here.

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