Every survivor deserves justice and to feel supported through the entire process.
Christy Heiskala is a victim advocate at The Pride Law Firm, although we prefer to use the term survivor advocate. Christy is the first full-time victim advocate working for a civil law firm. Christy was determined to work with survivors of sexual assault and their families after her personal experience with the criminal and civil justice processes. Christy received Certified Victim Advocate training through the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Technical Training and Assistance Center (OVTTAC). Christy received training from the Center for Community Solutions to become a sexual assault counselor certified by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and served as a sexual assault response team (SART) advocate. Prior to that, Christy received training from Voices for Children and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster care children. Christy founded the non-profit, Educate to Eliminate, where she trains kids, adults, and organizations on child sexual abuse prevention. Christy is a member of the San Diego Trauma-Informed Guide Team, Live Well San Diego, and serves on the following Lawyers Club of San Diego committees: Human Trafficking Collaborative, Sexual Harassment Task Force, Equality and Action Committee.
Get to Know Christy
Why are you choosing to focus on sexual assault?
I want to help survivors and their families through the process of seeking justice and finding their path to healing because I have been in their shoes and I felt so lost at the time. I didn’t understand how the criminal or civil justice process worked and I was too intimidated to admit when I didn’t understand. I know how it feels when nobody around you truly understands what you are going through. How survivors are treated after an assault can either be more traumatizing or it can be healing. Survivors deserve to have trauma-informed support every step of the way when they are seeking civil justice.
What is a message you would like to give survivors of sexual assault who are afraid of pursuing their perpetrators in civil court?
Ultimately, you have to do what is best for you but just know you are not alone, and you can make it through the process and come out stronger. From my personal experience, having faced a perpetrator in criminal and civil court, it was very empowering to me. I’m not going to lie; it was hard and stressful, but the pain would still be there whether I sought justice or not and I believe it would have been worse if I didn’t. Sometimes when the criminal justice process lets us down, the civil justice process is the only way to get justice. Holding someone accountable was very empowering to me and I have witnessed so many other survivors go through the same process and come out stronger.
More About Christy
In her spare time, Christy enjoys traveling, hiking, and going to the beach, spa days with friends, concerts with her husband, and vacations with their three kids.
Get in touch
If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, Jessica Pride wants to help you once again become the strong person you are. No man or woman deserves to be victimized in such a way.
The Pride Law Firm
2831 Camino Del Rio S., Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92108
1900 Powell St., Suite 6022
Emeryville, CA 94608
Hours. M-F 6:00am - 10:00pm PST
Phone. (619) 516-8166
Fax. (619) 785-3414