Advocacy programs do need to determine who is going to receive the information from law enforcement about the response and who will call the survivors. This is likely to require new job duties for current staff, such as hotline or crisis call advocates, on-call advocates, and/or legal advocates. Administrative policy, procedures, and forms to support these enhanced roles are found in the AIR Manual. These new duties are summarized below:


Initial call to survivor (by hotline worker, on-call advocate, or legal advocate):

  • Makes immediate initial phone contact with survivor after receiving law enforcement referral, using language access services when required
  • Talks with survivor (guided by a script included in the AIR manual):
    • Provide purpose of call and assure confidentiality of call (after confirming the call is confidential, e.g., no one is listening to the conversation or recording it and the caller is not a part of the system.)
    • Obtain permission to continue
    • Assess and address immediate safety needs
    • Ask how the survivor and their family is doing, including physically, emotionally, and financially
    • Explain advocacy services and options, including civil protection orders, immigration relief, public benefits, financial assistance options, and offer referrals to other community programs that offer referrals to services not provided by the advocacy program (e.g., legal services)[1]
    • Discuss law enforcement response and next steps in criminal case process, when relevant
    • Ask the survivor to share about the incident, history of violence in the relationship, and risk to the survivor and/or their children
    • If offender was arrested, discuss survivor’s preference regarding contact with offender upon release and how to inform the prosecutor, victim-witness specialist, or court to influence decisions regarding contact
    • If offender was not arrested, discuss and plan for what may happen
    • If time allows, explore and discuss possible future safety needs
  • Documents information collected and passes information to legal advocate to contact survivor for follow-up contact, if requested by survivor


Follow-up call with survivor (by legal advocate):

  • Contacts survivor according to appropriate timeline of next steps and based on information passed on from the advocate taking the initial call (e.g. next workday prior to court, immediately when it is known the offender is released from jail, after the offender has been arrested, etc.)
  • Makes contact with potential victim-defendants (survivors of ongoing battering who have been arrested for use of force) via phone, in-person conversation in court, or during a jail visit
  • Reviews survivor’s description of what happened and compares to police report
  • Asks about survivor’s wishes regarding criminal case and court process and communicates that information to court with informed, written and time-limited consent from the survivor (unless compelled by statute or court order. There are further release requirements for some minors and adults with guardians. For more information, see the following: The Violence Against Women ActVictims of Crime Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act or contact: the Victim Rights Law Center)
  • Maintains contact with survivor through criminal case and court process and monitors case processing
  • Tracks and compiles case outcomes

Programs need to ensure the initial callers and legal advocates know:

  • How to provide language access services, 24-hours a day
  • Steps in criminal case processing (when the offender will appear, when they will be released, if there will be other hearings, if and when the survivor should go to court, process when the offender flees prior to law enforcement response, and any other relevant steps.)
  • What role the system expects survivors to play at each step
  • The role they can play in helping survivors obtain U or T visa certification from police, prosecutors, and judges
  • Types of local services and how to access them, such as civil protection orders, legal representation, federal or state funded county benefits, etc.

Legal advocates also should be familiar with:

Programs need to ensure they:

  • Assess the language access needs of their community.
  • Develop a plan for language access for survivors with limited English proficiency or who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Assess and identify legal resources for survivors, including immigration-specific agencies, culturally-specific agencies, legal aid, pro bono or reduced rate legal representation, Deaf or hard of hearing advocacy agencies, and other local, regional, Tribal, state, or national providers with expertise in services not offered within the community-based advocacy agency. Many of these resources will be willing to collaborate with community-based advocacy programs to address survivor’s more complex needs.
  • Finally, programs need to implement a process for the advocates to make monthly reports to their supervisor, detail the number of law enforcement contacts, number of survivor contacts, and review the institutional response concerns tracking sheet (see AIR Manual).

[1] It is important to bring this up as soon as possible during the initial AIR call. Immigrant victims may not know that community-based advocates are in a position to help them with immigration relief, or they may assume that the advocacy program is a part of the system, and may decline to call or talk to an advocate.