COURT SUPPORT & LEGAL REFERAL

 

Victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault have many serious immediate needs that must be addressed in order to keep them safe and to help them escape an abusive relationship.
Underground Railroad Court Support Program advocates for and provides knowledgeable staff to help victims as they navigate their way through the criminal court process and in obtaining and enforcing Personal Protection Orders free of charge. 

Underground Railroad cannot provide direct legal advise, however, the agency collaborates with several attorneys and other resources that can be of assistance to victims if legal representation is needed.


Underground Railroad’s Court Support
Victims will come face-to-face with their abuser in the presence of a judge. It’s a frightening experience in an unfamiliar setting, especially for a woman already feeling isolated and alone. She isn’t alone anymore, because Underground Railroad’s Court Advocacy Program is there to support her in the following ways:

  • Help navigate the legal system, providing support and advocacy
  • Assist with filing petitions for Orders of Protection
  • Act as liaison and support between the victim and police, prosecutors and probation agents
  • Assist with Victim Impact Statements and Crime Victim Compensation Applications
  • Monitor District and Circuit Courts during domestic violence, stalking,  and sexual assault cases
  • Assist in filing Personal Protection Orders and attending court proceedings relating to these orders with petitioners
  • Assist in filing show causes related to Personal Protection Order violations
  • Provide information about court dates and times and accompanying victims to these proceedings
  • Explain court matters such as arraignments, preliminary examinations, trials, and sentencings to victims
  • Link victims to the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office, Citizens Affairs Department and Victim Advocates
  • Provide referral information to legal representation in civil matters (particularly family law) for battered women who qualify
  • Assist in safety planning for victims attending court proceedings
  • Advocate for evidence-based prosecutions whereby the case proceeds without the victims' participation
  • Advocate on behalf of victims requesting Peaceable Contact as a condition of bond
  • Strengthen relationships with law enforcement and probations officers, prosecutors, judges, and Friend of the Court personnel in order to better advocate for individual victims as well influence systems change

Referrals for Batterers

Underground Railroad does not work with batterers.  However, we refer batterers to responsible Batterer Intervention Programs (BIP), and collaborate with those programs.