Introduction When authorities fail to respond properly to violence against women and children, victims and their supporters need a simple, effective means to push officials to do the job right.
The most effective, everyday tool we've used over the years is a short, concise letter, fueled by strong c: If a phone call or two hasn't gotten the system to quickly correct its response to your case, putting together your own letter may be just the remedy you need.
You may doubt that a simple letter can do the job. Or you may feel intimidated just by the thought of writing a letter. But stick with it. We're going to give you an easy-to-follow letter formula. It's a formula that we've used hundreds of times to make officials take notice and to quickly correct their responses to women's cases.
It's also a formula that you can adapt for many different needs; whether you need to push to get your case fully investigated, or reinvestigated, or to stop an official's abusiveness, or to press a district attorney to file proper charges, or to get bad custody decisions reversed, to get your questions answered, or just to adjust an official's attitude.
But if you want reluctant officials to make rapid improvements in your case, we have found these letters to be highly effective. You shouldn't be shy about taking this action and making officials respond properly to you. Another thing to remember is to always adapt the recommendations we give below to meet your specific needs. We start with a sample letter that we'll use to illustrate the steps that follow for writing your own letter.
Dear Police Chief Andy Boyd. I am the victim in the rape case against Daniel Jones which I reported to your department on September 10, I am writing to express my concerns about the way my case has been handled so far, and to ask your help in resolving these problems as soon as possible. Three weeks ago, Detective Rich was assigned to my rape case.
Detective Click here interviewed me on September And he hasn't talked to me since.
I have called Detective Rich and left messages on his phone How To Write A Table Of Authorities times in the last two weeks. He has never called me back. In addition, in the first phone message that I left the detective two weeks ago, I gave the detective the full names and phone numbers of please click for source witnesses who saw me with my clothes torn after the rape.
During the interview, the detective had asked me to get this information for him. When I talked to How To Write A Table Of Authorities witnesses yesterday, they both said the detective hadn't contacted them yet. These are just some of the concerns I have.
I am very upset that the detective hasn't returned my phone calls and that he hasn't interviewed important witnesses in my rape case. The rapist told me he would make me sorry if I called the police. But I trusted that police would treat the rape and my safety seriously. And this web page I am living in more fear than ever.
Please look into this and call me as soon as possible. I would like to talk with you right after you receive this letter. I can be reached at my work during normal business hours atand at my home at I am also requesting that you immediately assign another detective to my case, and that this new detective quickly carry out a complete investigation of the case. And I'm asking that you please instruct the new detective to keep me informed of the investigation and to return my phone calls within 24 hours.
I'm sure you agree this needs to be corrected without delay. I'm sure that as chief of police, you want to assure that I am safe and that all women in the community are safe from rapists like Daniel Jones.
Anita Garcia case victim. Look at the bottom of the sample letter to see how a typical c: Because of the c: You are no longer just a lowly victim voicing your complaint in isolation. You've brought the DA, the click here, the attorney general, women's advocates, and a host of other powerful people into the room with you - and all eyes are on the chief.
How to Put Together the C: List for Your Letter: Here's is a list of the kinds of people you can consider including in your letter's cc list. Naturally, you don't have to include them all, or you may think of others we haven' listed here. Don't get overwhelmed thinking about creating your own list. It doesn't take long to put the names and addresses of all these people together. They're high profile people, so the correct spelling of their names and their addresses are just a phone How To Write A Table Of Authorities away.
Or, these days, you can easily gather all this information at one sitting on the Internet. Local Public Officials - e.
Table of Authorities Word Tutorial
Local Leaders and Groups - e. State and National Officials - e. Criminal justice officials are notoriously uncomfortable about being criticized in the press. So indicating your willingness to go to the press can exert a lot How To Write A Table Of Authorities pressure. On the other hand, if you're not certain that you're really willing to go to the press, or, if it's not certain that the press will actually read article anything even if you do, then it's probably better to leave this item off your list.
Be Creative - Think of other people who are relevant to your case - anyone, from neighbors who care about you, to school principals, to public officials.
Violence against women and children is extremely harmful and dangerous to you and to the community. It's crucial for everyone that officials respond properly to your case. These public officials work for you.
And they have obligations to you. You have a right to protection, link, and respect. And you have a right to complain loudly when officials don't work hard to give you these things. Your letter doesn't have to be perfect!
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Don't agonize over phrases. If you find yourself getting stuck obsessing over one part of the letter or another, it's time to call in a friend to sit beside you and help. A short letter is easier to write, and just as important, a short letter will get read. A one page letter is the best. Since no one can fit their whole story on one page, what you have to do is pick the two or three most important points, and then indicate in the letter that there is more to tell.
This was done in the sample letter just by saying, "These are just some of the concerns I have". If you have trouble figuring out which are the most important points, get a friend to sit beside you and help you write the letter. Keep Emotions to a Minimum: This can be very difficult for victims of violence, especially if you've been additionally victimized by the authorities.
Keep in mind that the purpose of the letter is not to vent your emotions. The purpose is to get improvements in the way your case is being handled. At the same time, your letter shouldn't be continue reading, either. Again, turn to a friend if you aren't sure about what's too much or too little.
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But most of all, remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Get Help from a Friend: A friend can help you in a lot of ways. They can sit beside you to help write the letter.
Sometimes all it takes is for them to just sit in the same room with you to keep you focused as you write. Or, they can help by reading the letter after you've finished. And some friends may want to sign the letter with you, too, a variation we'll describe later. Protect Your Confidentiality if You Wish: If you don't want to make your name public to the people in your c: In the copies of the letter that you send out to the people on the c: The first paragraph in the Sample Letter is a typical first paragraph that you can easily adapt to your own click at this page. Here's a couple How To Write A Table Of Authorities If you're an victim advocate writing on behalf of your client, here's a first paragraph we use time and again.
We're writing on behalf of our client, Jane Doe, in regard to her rape case that was reported to your department on June 10, We're writing to express our concerns with how the case has been handled, and to ask your immediate help in getting corrections made.
Or, if two or three supporters are writing the letter with you and will be signing the letter with you, start the letter by writing: We're writing along with Jane Doe to express our concerns about This is where many victims have trouble condensing down what may be a very long, difficult story.
And, in fact, you may actually need more than two paragraphs to do it.
One thought that might help you keep it as short as possible is to remind yourself again that the purpose of the letter isn't so much to tell your story, nor to go into detail about what the perpetrator did to you. The purpose of your letter is to protest a problem you have with officials who are mishandling your case. So you only have tell enough of your story so that those who read your letter can understand the context of your complaint and requests.
If you still have trouble putting this section together, take a separate piece of paper and make a list - not a discussion, make a list - of all the things you feel officials did wrong in handling your case.