For victims of sexual assault and their families, the court process can bring many painful memories to the surface, but agencies like Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin are there for support during the darkest moments.
When a sexual assault case plays out in court, a victim can be asked to testify or read an impact statement that they wrote.
Family Services offers help to victims going through the process.
"It can be a very traumatic process, the court process itself is kind of scary for most people that aren't familiar with what the court process looks like," Tiana Vanseth, supervisor of the sexual assault center, said. "And so that's important for them to get connected to an advocate at the sexual assault center to help walk them through that process, not only to explain to them what's going to happen, but to help support them, and to attend court on their behalf, to help kind of ease some of that trauma and help them get through that situation."
The emotions victims and their families feel can be overwhelming, which the world saw on Friday after a father heard the victim impact statements from his daughters who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar.
"It can be a really emotionally charged time for everybody, and we like to hopefully have the opportunity to meet with the victims and their families before we get to a court hearing like that, and kind of prepare them for what could possibly happen in court," Vanseth said.
For the victims who do choose to write a statement or address the perpatrator in court, the process can be very cathartic.
"So that's something that we can help them write that victim impact statement, or at least take some notes and gather their thoughts, so if they want to read that in the courtroom they have a logical document that they can take a look at and they can relive their experiences in a way that can be very theraputic," Vanseth said.
If you would like to learn more about Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, which offers free services for victims of sexual assault, click here.
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