How do I refer a survivor of sexual assault to SALS?
Our member programs often encounter survivors with legal questions. We ask that you screen the survivor using our case eligibility handout. If the survivor meets the criteria outlined in the handout, complete the entire referral form with the survivor. Please have the applicant sign a release to allow the SALS advocate to contact your agency, along with a release to our contracted professional legal services firm, Ries Law Group, PC, to perform appropriate conflict checks.
These forms can be emailed, faxed, or mailed to our program.
Fax: (406) 403-0499
P.O. Box 818
Helena, Montana 59624-0818
If a conflicts check clears, the SALS advocate will provide a holistic legal intake with each referred survivor to determine whether the case is program-appropriate.
Please keep in mind that once intake is complete this does NOT mean SALS has accepted the case. We will inform the survivor about the status of their application. It is possible that we will need additional information and/or court filings to determine if our program can accept a case or not.
To be eligible for services under the grant, an applicant must be a victim/survivor of sexual assault — and that status as a victim/survivor must be related to the request for services. For more information on eligibility, please see the case eligibility handout.
If your survivor is primarily a victim of domestic violence, please first apply for services with Montana Legal Services by applying online at www.mtlsa.org or by calling their Helpline at 1-800-666-6899.
If the case is program-appropriate, the SALS advocate will work with contract attorneys to find the most appropriate legal remedies and representation available. SALS will then notify the applicant directly of either acceptance or denial. If accepted, our contracted attorneys will begin working on the case with you!
Does our organization need to be a member of MCADSV to refer clients to SALS?
We understand that not everyone who works with survivors in Montana is an organizational or individual member of MCADSV (if you would like to become one click here for more information) and it is not a requirement to make a referral to SALS. We do ask that you use our application forms to help the survivor apply for services.
SALS keeps all of the information provided to us by applicants and referring agencies confidential and we will not disclose any information without the survivor’s consent or prior notice. We will use the information provide in the application to determine if we can accept the case and assist the survivor. Additionally, we are required to report non-identifying information to our grant administrators.
A word about attorney-client privilege
After you have referred a survivor to SALS, we will follow up directly with the survivor. During the initial intake interview, we may ask the survivor to speak with the SALS contract attorney one-on-one rather than having additional parties (including advocates from the referring agency) in the room. There is a possibility that the presence of a third party, whether that be a family member, a spouse, a friend, or an advocate, could be considered a waiver of the attorney-client privilege.
Sometimes the survivor may need to use your office to call the SALS staff due to safety issues or lack of adequate telephone service. We may request that the survivor be given a private space for that phone call.
No matter the incident or pattern of abuse that a survivor has experienced it can cause an ongoing threat to his or her physical and emotional safety. The SALS advocate will ask about safety during the initial interview and will safety plan with the survivor. Our goal is to empower the survivor to find ways to regain a sense of security. We ask that the referring advocates also revisit safety with the survivor.