Psychosocial court advocacy
What is psychosocial court advocacy?
What benefits does it offer?
For most people, both children and adults, a criminal court case and the act of testifying in court are situations that are stressful and frightening. Being compelled to recount experiences in front of strangers is daunting. In these situations psychosocial court advocacy and support can be very helpful. Our professionals will work with you to reduce the fear of being in court and testifying, and to alleviate the negative impact of the situation; they will also provide access to additional advocacy and counselling services, and help you understand the legal proceedings.
Who is entitled to psychosocial court advocacy?
Psychosocial court advocacy is a service we provide for people who are in special need of support, for example:
- Children and young people
- Persons with disabilities
- Persons with mental health issues
- Survivors of sexual crimes
- Survivors of violent crime (with severe physical, mental or financial consequences, or crimes that took place over a longer period of time, e.g. domestic violence or stalking)
- Survivors of violence motivated by prejudice and other forms of hate crime
- Survivors of human trafficking
- Our psychosocial court support is also aimed at family members and dependents who are also entitled to special protection.
What kind of support do we provide during psychosocial court advocacy?
Court advocacy can start as early as accompanying you to the police to file a report, but it primarily means support with preparation for the court hearing, during the hearing and testimony, follow-up support and identifying and additional aid that you may need. The degree and intensity of the advocacy we provide depends entirely on your needs. Psychosocial court advocacy is a valuable addition to legal representation, as it provides psychosocial support in a situation that can be stressful.
Before the main hearing, our court support workers will explain the following to you and/or your child:
- What happens during criminal proceedings and the trial
- What happens during the hearing
- The people present and their function
- Testimony and cross-questioning
- The role of a witness
- The option of being legally represented (civil action)
- Victim protection and support measures
The court support workers will discuss any concerns and fears you and/or your child may have with regard to the court hearing and will talk you through potential strategies for dealing with stress situations. You can also view the court and the courtroom prior to the hearing in order to familiarise yourself with it. Psychosocial court advocacy is not therapy or legal representation. We will not discuss the facts of the case with you. During the court hearing our court support workers will accompany you and/or your child while you wait and during testimony in court. Immediately after the hearing you and/or your child can discuss what has taken place and your experience with your support worker.
After the case has been concluded you can discuss the verdict and the reasons given for the judgement with our support worker and, if required, additional programmes or support with processing the violence you have experienced can be set up.
Who will provide details of psychosocial court advocacy? Who is responsible for my case?
If you have reported the offence to the police yourself, then the police will give you details of the psychosocial court advocacy programme and will tell you who to get in touch with.
The state prosecution service, who is responsible for pressing charges, will also provide details of the psychosocial court advocacy programme.
We can provide you with more information about this programme and details of which crimes entitled you to free psychosocial court advocacy.
In the jurisdiction of the District Court of Kiel, psychosocial court advocacy is available from:
Dänische Straße 3-5
Tel. 0431 91144
Tel. 0431 122180