The journey you take through the criminal justice system will be different for everyone. If you choose to report the crime to the police the journey may start with the police and end at court. Or it may end at different times along the journey for many different reasons. We know that people affected by crime find the criminal justice system confusing and it can be hard to get information about why some thing has happened. This is why we believe that having an independent advocate by your side is important. An independent advocate can help explain things to you, find out more information, signpost you to places you can get more information and support you through your experience.
When you first meet your advocate they will ask you some basic information about you and they will then work with you to understand what you need. You do not have to tell them in detail what happened, but it may help them and you to identify the most appropriate support for you. Everything you tell your advocate is confidential, but if they are worried about you or someone else they have to make a safeguarding referral. Your advocate will tell you more about how your privacy is protected when you meet with them.
As you work with your advocate you will develop a support plan together. They will tell you about what is available locally, or they may source specialist support for you if you have very specific needs which you feel will not be met with our offer. You should feel safe, believed and supported by your advocate. You can ask to work with someone with a particular gender and your advocate is trained to work with you in trauma informed way. If you are a young person, your advocate will come from our specialist young people service and can also offer support to your family, if you would like that.