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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Increasing The Capacity of Legal & Victim Service Providers

October 06, 2017

In 2012, the Office for Victims of Crime began funding the creation of legal assistance networks across the country to provide holistic, wraparound, no-cost legal assistance to address the full scope of victims’ needs.  Six Networks were funded.  In 2014, OVC funded a second group of Networks.  By mid-2017 seven of the 10 Networks have completed a methodical process of identifying needs and gaps and designing a Network structure that effectively provides responsive services to victims.  In the first half of 2017, these seven Networks and their 86 partner agencies were available to help 4,075 victims seeking assistance.  The remaining three Networks are beginning services shortly!

NCVLI serves as the programmatic and legal advocacy training and technical assistance (TTA) provider to the Networks, assisting with project design and implementation.  In this capacity NCVLI is helping to ensure that the Networks can be responsive to the unique needs of victims while maximizing the capacity of legal and victim service providers in their jurisdictions.  Examples of TTA provided include:

  • Input and feedback on draft Needs Assessments and Implementation Plans;
  • Assistance in developing training agendas, pilot rollouts, and marketing plans;
  • Review and feedback on assessment and program evaluation instruments;
  • Assessment of the ethical and mandatory reporting considerations when integrating a social worker into a holistic victim legal service model;
  • Assessment of the ethical and confidentiality considerations when serving victims in remote and rural locations when in-person representation is not practical;
  • Consultation on conflicts of interest that may arise when representing multiple victims in a single case;
  • Facilitated consultation with human trafficking subject matter experts;
  • Research and drafting of a sample documents, including motions to quash subpoenas for private records and takedown communications to social media and other Internet sites; and
  • Collection of resources to support to use of a facility dog as an accommodation for a child-victim’s courtroom testimony.

To ensure the entire nation can benefit from the experiences of the Networks, NCVLI is documenting the work of the Networks, including lessons learned and promising practices, which can be applied toward the establishment of future Networks.  To learn more and keep up to date on Network news, visit the Legal Assistance Networks webpage.