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SAFETI Adaptation Of Peace Corps Resources
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Legal Counsel

(Adapted from the Crisis Management Handbook: A Guide for Overseas Staff, Peace Corps Volunteer Safety Council)

A) Retention of Legal Counsel

Rather than sending out individual cables for each assault, the following could serve as a permanent guidance on how to proceed in cases of sexual assault for a student in your country. Refer to it immediately whenever a sexual assault is reported to you. We believe this procedure will both speed the process by which the study center can receive guidance on retaining counsel in sexual assault cases as well as furthering confidentiality for assault victims.

As the Resident Director, you may retain an attorney to advise you regarding the legal process in your country for prosecution of the assailant. A list of questions has been included that you may wish to ask the attorney in order to identify for the students all aspects of the prosecution process and any possible alternatives. While the student might not be interested in pursuing prosecution immediately after the assault, we feel that she/he cannot make an educated decision regarding prosecution without adequate information about the process. In addition, there are often actions (for example, forensic exams) which must be taken immediately after the assault or chances of conviction of the assailant may be reduced. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the prosecution process in advance.

Once the victim has been informed about the legal process and has made a firm commitment to pursue prosecution, you should retain an attorney to represent and advise the student during prosecution. This attorney may be the same as the attorney you consulted or a different attorney, if appropriate.

Differences between legal systems make it difficult to generalize as to the form of assistance the student may take. However, the intent is that you should retain an attorney to provide legal support short of assuming the government's responsibility to prosecute the case. However, assistance may not include pursuit of civil remedies.

(Adapted from the Crisis Management Handbook: A Guide for Overseas Staff, Peace Corps Volunteer Safety Council)