Legal Advocate for Survivors of Domestic Violence
A legal advocate for survivors of domestic violence attends family law restraining order hearings in person at the Watsonville courthouse to provide assistance with legal paperwork, provide peer and emotional support, answer general questions about the legal system without offering legal advice, liaise between the survivor and court employees, and offer local legal resources as needed.
Previous experience in advocacy or law is not required. Training is included and meets the California legal requirements to be certified as an advocate for domestic violence survivors (California Evidence Code §1037).
Why It Matters
Current research shows that, in the US, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience some form of abuse from an intimate partner. Domestic violence has a reciprocal relationship with other forms of abuse of power, such as racism, transphobia, and ableism, and it is the primary cause of homelessness among women. It impacts not only the well-being of an individual but also the family, the community, and society as a whole. Because domestic violence is so prevalent, it comes up in areas outside of domestic violence agencies: hospitals, therapists’ offices, substance use recovery programs, homelessness, schools, families, friend groups, corporate workplaces, law enforcement, etc.
Understanding of domestic and gendered violence in both the personal and broader political contexts
Skill development in crisis intervention
Skill development in peer support, emotional support, healthy boundaries, and other interpersonal skills
Being a safer, more effective ally for survivors both professionally and personally
Knowledge of local family law processes
Additional trainings and professional development opportunities offered by guest speakers at the monthly supervisory meetings
Opportunity for academic credit, work experience, and other benefits for future educational or employment options
Opportunities for networking with local legal officials, employees, and groups
Be 18 years or older
Have not received domestic violence services as a participant with Walnut Avenue for a minimum of two years
Attend a Walnut Avenue volunteer orientation
Pass a fingerprinting/criminal background check
Completion of the 40+ hour advocacy certification training (required by California law)
Participation in our 24-hour hotline service
Detail-oriented, punctual, and able to conform to structural requirements/policies
Business or business-casual attire
An email which is checked regularly
Professional verbal and written communication with supervisor
Maintain high confidentiality standard
Bilingual Spanish encouraged but not required
Commitment to 12 consecutive months of service
One weekly shift on our hotline (9am-5pm or 5pm-9am), taken anywhere you have phone reception and the option for privacy
One monthly professional development/supervisory meeting, attended in person (first Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30pm)
Attending court every Thursday from 7:30am-1pm
Certification training with commitment to 12 months: $50 materials fee
Certification training without commitment to 12 months: $250
Standard background check (required for all volunteers): $45
Background check for volunteers also providing services for children and teens: $102, with option for reimbursement after 3 months of service
If cost is a barrier for you, please contact the community engagement coordinator to discuss your options without judgment at email@example.com.
To Get Started
The first step is to attend a volunteer orientation at Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center, which happen about twice a month/every two weeks. To hear upcoming dates and times and to register for the one which works best for you, please call our office at (831) 426-3062. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please contact our community engagement coordinator, Marjorie Coffey, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is the policy of Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center to provide equal employment, volunteer opportunities and services to participants (EEO) to all persons regardless of ancestry, age, color, national origin, disability (physical and mental, includes HIV and AIDS), genetic information, race, religion (includes religious dress and grooming), gender, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and/or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, military or veteran, request for FMLA or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.
Get Involved...Select the Red "Express Interest" button below
**This is a Referral Opportunity, which means it is run directly by one of our nonprofit partners. Once you express interest, someone from the partner organization should follow up with you shortly to discuss confirming you as a volunteer for this opportunity.
Santa Cruz, CA