Celebrating the 2019 Crime Victim Law Conference
On June 5-7, 2019, NCVLI hosted the 2019 Crime Victim Law Conference and Pre-Conference Institutes in Portland, Oregon. More than 450 victim attorneys, advocates, survivors, law enforcement and other allied professionals—both civilian and military—attended. “The mix of professionals who attend make the NCVLI Conference unique,” according to one attorney-attendee this year. This amazing group came together to Show Up for Justice through learning, networking and sharing their knowledge. As the Conference finishes its 18th year, it remains the only national conference focused on rights enforcement in criminal cases.
Our Conference community this year hailed from 41 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Guam, American Samoa, Mexico and Australia. The Conference faculty consisted of 70 presenters sharing knowledge over 38 sessions, including multiple facilitated conversations on its last day. When so many victim service professionals come together to tackle challenging issues, we move a little closer to a world in which every victim has access to the tools and resources to meaningfully assert and seek enforcement of their rights.
From foundational victims’ rights sessions for new practitioners to advanced legal sessions for seasoned professionals, the Conference had something for everyone to learn. Some of the topics covered during the Conference included:
- Leveraging technology to increase access to justice for victims;
- Maximizing the effect of a victim’s impact statement in military sentencings;
- Developing culturally responsive, trauma-informed legal advocacy services and responses to victims;
- Combining art therapy, creative writing, and law for survivor advocacy;
- Safeguarding the rights of child-victims through ground-breaking partnerships;
- Developing legal strategies for addressing elder abuse and financial exploitation;
- Serving crime victims with incarceration histories;
- Advocating for post-conviction relief for human trafficking victims; and
- Understanding the history of the military victim counsel.
In addition to these core Conference sessions, Pre-Conference Institutes this year were:
- Evaluating Legal Services. The Justice Research and Statistics Association, pursuant to funding from the National Institute of Justice, brought together researchers, legal practitioners and survivors to discuss evaluating legal interventions for victims of crime. Discussions from this meeting will inform a conceptual framework to measure the effectiveness and impact of crime victim legal services, including victims’ rights enforcement.
- Language Access and Meaningful Collaborations. The National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (NRC) hosted a training on the practical tools for examining language practices, conducting meaningful collaborations, and adapting services to be more culturally responsive. The presenters included representatives from the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP), Rakisha, and Casa de Esperanza – National Latin@ Network.
- Victims’ Rights Post-Conviction. On June 5th, NCVLI hosted a daylong Post-Conviction Victims Rights Legal Training Institute. The Institute brought together twenty-five individuals from across the nation with professional experience in the post-conviction setting to engage in a multi-disciplinary learning focused on improving victims’ rights enforcement post-conviction.
What an incredible three day event we had this year! One military attorney commented, “This is absolutely the best conference for victim rights law. It is a wonderful opportunity to interact with national level victim rights.” Another victim advocate, remarking on the plenary sessions, said, “[They were] very mind-opening speakers that provide different points of view.” Another attendee expressed, “I will definitely be using the legislative training in my state as a tool for change.”
The Crime Victim Law Conference is a chance to re-energize for the year ahead, thanks to the many inspiring conversations, bold ideas and collaboration. We are already building on this year to plan the 2020 Conference.
Our 2020 Conference is anticipated for June 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Registration will open later this summer so check ncvli.org often for updates, including RFP applications! Details on the 2020 Conference will be announced in our monthly Enewsletter. If you aren’t subscribed, sign up now.
Thank you to everyone who attended this year and worked to make it special! A special thank you to our Sponsors who generously supported this event and played a critical role in expanding the victims’ rights community.