Since 2011, WCC has expanded to actively giving court support to victims of domestic and sexual violence. Advocating for clients’ rights is a component of WCC’s work to ensure that women and children receive adequate support in their journey for justice in the courts. WCC provides legal support, engage with government agencies to follow up their cases, and give emotional support throughout the long tedious court trials.
In 2013, WCC gave legal and court support to 47 cases in the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence. Our work included assisting clients to obtain protection orders against perpetrators for domestic violence cases by making authorities more aware of victims’ rights under the Domestic Violence Act. WCC’s networking with social welfare officers has significantly sped up the process of receiving protection orders.
WCC has advocated for better access to justice in sexual assault cases, where the majority involves sexual abuse child victims. The aim is to highlight the victims vulnerabilities and needs when going to court and to protect these victims and family members from further harm when the crime is being investigated or tried in court.
WCC is probably the only non-government body that is providing systematic court support for victims of sexual crime. The dedication we give to our clients is reflected that in 2013, for 14 legal cases handled, WCC provided assistance 89 times; from police report follow-up to court trial.
WCC’s court support work includes:
b) Ensuring that special measures are made accessible to the client (e.g video live-link in court)a) Helping prepare for trial, incluidng briefing the client and her family on trial procedures and visiting the court to familiarise themselve with the court
c) Providing emotional support for the victim throughout trial and appeals
d) Sourcing for watching brief lawyers for those who are not affordable to represent the victim’s interest before and during court trials.
In addition, WCC has produced a user-friendly guidebook entitled Surviving Court: a comprehensive guide to understanding the criminal court system. It is available in three languages: Malay, English and Chinese.