For 30 years, Children’s Court Services (CCS) has been assisting child victims of crime and/or witnesses to crime, and their families, as they participate in the criminal justice system. Our court advocates educate, support and accompany children and their non-offending family members as they prepare for the court process. All services are free of charge.
Children who are crime victims of or witnesses to acts of violence have special needs, especially in coping with the effects of the traumatic experiences on their lives. They require assistance in order to understand and participate in the criminal justice system without being further traumatized by its often-confusing language and procedures. Parents/guardians often need support to help their child recover from the trauma and the process.
CCS provides assistance to address the family’s need for information, support and accompaniment, including:
- Explanation of law enforcement and legal procedures.
- Updates on the status of the investigation and the court case.
- Court orientation for children.
- Accompaniment to the District Attorney’s Office and court.
- Referrals for therapy, medical services and other community resources.
- Information on probation and parole.
- Assistance in applying to Crime Victims’ Compensation.
Every child and parent or caregiver is assigned an advocate. The advocate establishes a trusting relationship with the family, explains the legal system in terms the child can understand and serves as a support person in the courtroom when the child testifies. Since family members are often witnesses and therefore not allowed in the courtroom during the trial, the advocate remains with the child when they confront the perpetrator and testify about their experience. The same advocate remains with the child throughout the disposition of the court case.
To speak to an advocate about Children's Court Services, call our 24-Hour Hotline at 713.528.2121.
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