Crime Victims Now Have Constitutional Rights

The Importance of a Victims’ Rights Attorney in Cases Involving Violence Against Women

June 7, 2019

Biases and myths often create hurdles to obtaining justice

The Importance of a Victims’ Rights Attorney in Cases Involving Violence Against Women

If you click on any news story involving violence against women, there is a good chance that you will see a number of comments that contain some element of victim-blaming. In a domestic violence case, you might read questions asking why the victim didn’t leave her partner if the abuse was so bad, or what she did to provoke her abuser. In a sexual assault case, you may see commenters asking what the victim was wearing, why she was out so late, or how much she had to drink. In other cases, people may wonder if the victim is making up the abuse in order to gain an edge in a divorce or child custody case.

These are all examples of the types of biases and cultural prejudices that women often face when they are victims of crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or child abuse. Rather than receiving support, they are often treated as though they are somehow to blame for being abused — or even accused of lying about what happened. In these cases, it is all the more important to have an experienced Irvine victims’ rights attorney to advocate for your rights.

California has a comprehensive law regarding victims’ rights, known as Marsy’s Law. Yet even with these rules in place, the reality is that courtrooms are filled with people who bring their own biases to bear on a case, from the judge to each member of a jury. An Irvine victims’ rights attorney can use his skill and knowledge of the law to protect your rights, including ensuring that you have the right to attend hearings and be heard at them and your right to privacy.

The work of a victims’ rights attorney can be key to the outcome of a criminal case. For example, in a sexual assault case, the defense attorney may try to introduce evidence of the victim’s sexual behavior to demonstrate that the rape did not occur (often by claiming that the victim consented to sex with the abuser before, and so she must have this time, or by claiming that the victim was sexually promiscuous). Rape shield laws generally protect against the introduction of this evidence. A seasoned Irvine victims’ rights attorney can aggressively argue against the admission of any evidence regarding the victim’s sexual behavior — and in many cases, prevent this type of evidence from being admitted at trial.

Because the myths about domestic violence, sexual assault and other types of violence against women are so pervasive, it is critical to have an advocate who will stand by your side throughout the criminal process. A victims’ rights attorney will be there for you — and will work to protect your rights and interests as the victim in the case.

Attorney Michael Fell is a former Deputy District Attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. For more than 18 years, he prosecuted hundreds of cases, including those involving arson, organized crime, child molestation, juvenile crime, hate crimes, gang cases and murder. While serving as a Deputy District Attorney (and later, a Senior Deputy District Attorney), Mr. Fell developed a passion for helping victims of crime. He has an in-depth knowledge of the system, honed by nearly two decades as a prosecutor, and is fiercely committed to assisting his clients through the criminal justice process.

At Justice 4 Crime Victims, we believe that crime victims should be treated with dignity and respect. Above all, we are dedicated to working hard to make sure that our clients get the justice that they deserve. To learn more about the services that we offer or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact our firm at 949-585-9055 or mfell@fellesq.com.