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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  Is NCVLI a government agency?

Answer:  No.  NCVLI is a not for profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors

Question:  NCVLI receives a great deal of funding from the federal government.  Does that mean taxpayers are already paying for these services?

Answer:  No.  The federal funding NCVLI receives is predominately through federal grants derived not from tax dollars but from fines, penalty assessments, and bond forfeitures of convicted federal criminal offenders. 

Question:  Doesn’t NCVLI’s goal of providing legal services to victims in criminal cases mean it is just another arm of the prosecution, which is already paid for by taxpayers?

Answer:  No.  Victims’ rights are personal rights, that exist independent of prosecution, defense, or the court.  NCVLI’s goal of ensuring victims have access to free lawyers knowledgeable about rights is meant to ensure that every crime victim has a voice in the process.  Prosecutors represent the state, not the individual victim of the crime.

Question:  Does NCVLI provide free legal services to every victim who contacts it?

Answer No.  In fact, NCVLI does not provide any legal services directly to victims.  When a victim contacts NCVLI we work to pair that victim with support services in his or her area, and to find a lawyer in our pool of pro bono attorneys who is willing to provide free legal services.  We will then partner with those volunteer lawyers to ensure top quality advocacy on behalf of the victim. 

Question:  If NCVLI is not providing the direct legal services what exactly does it provide that help victims with their legal needs?

Answer:  NCVLI provides training and technical assistance (research, writing, and strategic case advice) to attorneys and advocates so that every attorney and advocate, even those in solo practice, can represent victims with the power and resources of a national entity behind them.

Question:  If I make a donation to NCVLI, can I designate which program the funds should be used for?

Answer:  Yes.  While NCVLI works hard on behalf of all victims of crime we know that donors often want to dedicate funds to certain purposes.