Anytime a court case is necessary, there are often difficult topics to deal with. Emotions can run high when speaking about experiences with your lawyer and in the courtroom. Sexual assault cases are some of the most traumatic cases for victims to deal with. It is important to make things a comfortable as possible for clients who have been through this type of experience. Lawyers who specialise in sensitive subjects are best at identifying situations that can trigger painful thoughts. They know how to help individuals gain some comfort during the different parts of the trial.
Meeting with a Lawyer
It can be very difficult for victims of abuse to come forward. They often bring with them a lot of feelings of shame or guilt. Even when these are unfounded, they are not easy to escape. The first meeting with a lawyer needs to be navigated carefully. Sexual assault lawyers must approach their clients with caution and may need special tactics to deal young children who have been through abuse. A third party should be allowed to be in the room when the client is speaking, if they wish. A parent or close friend can offer excellent support. These meetings may also take longer than common consultations. Lawyers should allow extra time in case the client needs a break. Different forms of communication may also be helpful. A written account of the assault may allow for more detail with less embarrassment.
Preparation for Court
The courtroom part of an assault case can be the most daunting part. It is important to prepare the client well for this experience. This is more than simple courtroom protocol. These clients may relive the entire experience in their heads as soon as they see their attacker in the room. They need to practice giving their testimony over and over again. This way, they are confident in sharing the truth, even under watchful eyes. It may be necessary to have an audience of several people when practicing. Other lawyers in the firm may be able to help with this, since the information is confidential.
Self-comforting tactics can also be suggested. They can bring a photo of a pet or loved one, carry a small trinket that is meaningful and practice deep breathing. It may also be helpful to train them to look straight to their lawyer when they are speaking. Eye contact with the person that is on their side may help to steady them. Victims also need to know that they can cease speaking or voice their discomfort if they become overwhelmed. Some judges may be willing to grant them a break.
Focus on the Future
It can help to remind victims of assault that the court case does not last forever. They are survivors and can move on after the case is over. Even though the experience is frightening, the actual time in court is often short-lived. Help these clients focus on short-term rewards to get them through the days in front of the judge. They can think about hugging their dog at the end of the day or going for ice cream with a friend. Perhaps they can look forward to going home with a parent for a comforting family dinner. They should be reminded they have something to look forward to. A list of these items to carry with them may help.
Sexual assault cases are extremely sensitive and can be hard on everyone involved. Lawyers may also become emotional when hearing the confession of abuse. It is important to prepare these clients properly and offer as much comfort as possible. Coping tactics can be extremely helpful. A good assault lawyer has patience, has good preparation tactics, and finds innovative ways to work with clients.