Jan 07, 2022 |

Client Spotlight: Sexual Violence Law Center - Advocacy for Victims of Sexual Violence

Content Warning: Sexual Violence Law Center works on issues that may be sensitive for readers.

Sexual violence is a daily occurrence across the United States, impacting people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. One in three women, one in six men, and one in two trans and nonbinary people will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. As survivors work to get out of unsafe circumstances, their legal issues can compound. If someone is raped in their home, they may need to break their lease to move to a safe place. If survivors have children in common with their abusers, they may need family law support to protect their children. If they need to attend court or counseling, survivors may need help to ensure they can take time off from their jobs. If assaulted by a classmate, a survivor may need the school to provide appropriate accommodations so that they can continue learning in a safe environment. Protection orders may be required to keep their abuser away from them. All of these areas require attorneys trained in multiple legal issues, and that is what Sexual Violence Law Center provides to survivors in Washington State.

Sexual Violence Law Center is staffed by victims’ rights attorneys who provide free trauma-informed, comprehensive legal services. “When you have traumatic experiences like sexual assault, child sexual abuse, stalking, technology-enabled abuse, or human trafficking, there are a lot of legal issues that may arise,” explains Riddhi Mukhopadyay, Executive Director. “We believe a survivor’s right to access justice should not be limited by their ability to pay. We work to ensure a survivor’s rights are protected so they can focus on their healing.”

Educate yourself to support survivors

“We all know survivors. How we respond to and talk about sexual assault and trafficking directly impacts people’s comfort in coming forward and sharing their stories,” says Riddhi. “I hope as more people educate themselves about these issues, we can create a broader community of support for survivors.”

Survivors find Sexual Violence Law Center largely in two ways: through referrals from community partners like advocates, social workers, and mental health providers, and by directly contacting the organization after searching online or hearing about us by word of mouth. Sexual Violence Law Center has a statewide legal support line and email address. Any survivor can contact them to speak to an attorney and learn more about their services and your legal rights.

Banking services that support community organizations

“As a young nonprofit, to have access to banking services that treat you as well as high-revenue businesses makes a big difference,” reflects Riddhi. “When we first looked for banking services, other banks wanted us to function like a for-profit company in order to bank with them. But Stacey Krynsky [VP, Client and Treasury Manager] at Beneficial State Bank understood nonprofit needs and explored options and alternatives with us so we could have the banking services we need to operate.”

“When you do work that’s hard, that’s mentally and emotionally taxing, you don’t want your bank to become another source of stress,” says Riddhi. “Having financial institutions like Beneficial State Bank backing up community organizations like us makes it easier for us to support our clients.”

There are three ways you can support the survivors in your life. First, believe survivors when they come forward and tell you about a traumatic experience. Second, share information about resources, like the Sexual Violence Law Center, with survivors so they do not have to figure out their options and rights alone. And last, donate to or volunteer with organizations that support survivors’ healing process. Learn more about how to get involved with the Sexual Violence Law Center.