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Meet Anna, a Latinx Court Advocacy Intern

Anna Roberson says serving as a Court Advocacy intern at Compass Center gave her valuable courtroom experience and a first-hand look at the legal challenges victims of domestic violence.

Anna Roberson says serving as a Court Advocacy intern at Compass Center gave her valuable courtroom experience and a first-hand look at the legal challenges victims of domestic violence face.

A friend who was previously a volunteer domestic violence court advocate encouraged me to look into Compass Center for Women and Families as she had found her volunteer years with Compass Center to be a meaningful way to balance her workweek. Since I have an interest in legal issues and will be attending law school in the fall, the court advocacy program was especially appealing to me.

Once a week, I accompany clients at the courthouse. They may be filing a protective order, acting as a victim or witness for a criminal proceeding, or dealing with custody issues. As a court advocate, I help the clients fill out some of the court paperwork if they need assistance, provide support while we wait — sometimes for hours — for the case to be resolved, provide resource referrals and safety planning, and schedule in-office services if necessary. I focus my time on our Spanish-speaking clients if there are any present.

Through volunteering I have learned so much, but I will always continue to be shocked at how pervasive domestic violence is. No demographic is free of domestic violence. I have also learned the ways in which the Latinx community specifically is impacted in unique ways and how language obstacles can make it more difficult for Spanish-speaking victims to receive justice and support.

I have grown so much in my ability to provide compassionate support to someone experiencing really intense trauma. I have learned to be comfortable talking with new people about “taboo” topics such as suicide, pregnancy, and abortion.  I have gained knowledge about the court system and improved my legal vocabulary in Spanish.  I have also gained a sharper sense of how I can use my future career as a lawyer to continue advocating for victims of domestic violence in other ways.

I strongly believe that the court experience I received and the amazing supervision of Kati Hajjar, Compass Center’s Director of Court Advocacy, during the past few years is what made the difference on my law school applications. Having so much direct client experience, learning how  domestic violence court works, assisting clients in pro se filings, getting to sit in and translate for interviews with the District Attorney, and having the opportunity to confirm my interest in the legal side of domestic violence have really prepared me to return to school and move forward in my career.

-Anna Roberson, Latinx Court Advocacy intern

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In order to support the work of volunteers like Anna, please consider donating to Compass Center today.

 

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