Justice System Advocacy
The Witness Victim Service Center provides justice system advocacy services, free of charge, for victims of violent crime. Our Staff Advocates can work with victims with cases heard in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas’ General and Juvenile Divisions, or in the Cleveland Municipal Court.
Advocates are specially trained to assist victims with:
- Developing a safety plan
- Communicating effectively with law enforcement, the prosecutor and court personnel
- Navigating the court process
- Identifying supportive community resources
- Filing a protection order
- Applying for compensation from the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Fund, administered by the Ohio Attorney General
The Center employs staff who are fluent in Spanish and has access to translation services to accommodate individuals who speak languages other than English or Spanish.
A Victim Advocate is not an attorney and cannot provide legal advice or representation.
Victim Advocacy - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I connect with a Victim Advocate?
If you’ve been a victim of a violent crime, please file a police report at the police station in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred as soon as possible after the incident. Then, call us at 216-443-7345, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to complete an intake and we will connect you with a victim advocate. You may also drop in to the Family Justice Center, 75 Erieview Plaza, 5th Floor, Cleveland, Ohio, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
What should I do if I’ve received a subpoena?
If you have received a subpoena to appear in court, plan to attend court on the date and time listed in the subpoena. Call your advocate immediately, telling him/her the date, time and courtroom of the appearance. If your advocate is not available when you call, leave a confidential voice-mail message with the information. On your court date, your advocate will meet with you and attend the hearing with you.
What if I need a Civil Protection Order?
For more information, visit the Family Family Justice Center.
Children Exposed to Violence
Research has shown that children who witness violence on a regular basis are more likely to perpetrate violence as adults or become victims themselves. By providing guidance and assistance to families in need, the Witness Victim Service Center aims to end the tragic generational cycle of violence.
The Center administers two different programs for children who are exposed to violence.
Through Children Who Witness Violence, specially trained crisis workers assist families whose children have witnessed a violent crime. Crisis workers are called directly to the scene of the incident by the police or are available to meet with the family through a next-day appointment. Services provided include crisis management, emotional well-being assessment, referrals for service, and ongoing counseling if needed.
To meet with a Crisis Worker, ask a police officer or social worker to make a referral to the Children Who Witness Violence Program at FrontLine Services, or call FrontLine directly at 216-623-6888.
Defending Childhood is a program administered by the Witness Victim Service Center and several community partners. Defending Childhood helps to identify children who are experiencing trauma as a result of exposure to violence. Ongoing treatment is provided. To learn how to access services through Defending Childhood, call 216-443-7345.