History of NCVLI

NCVLI was conceived in 1997 by Professor Doug Beloof to be a national resource for crime victim lawyers and victims to support the assertion and enforcement of victims’ rights in criminal and civil processes. In 1998, United States Senators Jon Kyl, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith supported the first appropriation of Congress to provide financial support for NCVLI. Since then NCVLI has achieved a number of successes:


  • Lewis & Clark Law Students start assisting with victims’ rights work.


  • Professor Beloof’s legal casebook, Victims in Criminal Procedure, is published and wins an award for research and writing in victimology from the National Organization of Victim Assistance



NCVLI convenes the first conference for crime victim lawyers; and the first colloquium for sexual assault coalition lawyers


  • NCVLI incorporates as a private nonprofit with a Board of Directors, and achieves tax exempt status
  • 5-year cooperative agreement between NCVLI and the United States Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), is entered, launching the State & Federal Clinics and System Demonstration Project. Key elements of the Demonstration Project: solicitation and oversight of pro bono legal clinics, continuation of an annual Crime Victim Law & Litigation Conference, legal technical assistance to victim lawyers and advocates around the nation, the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Lawyers (NAVRA), a bi-annual newsletter, NCVLI News, and NCVLI amicus curiae participation nationwide


  • The pro bono legal clinics funded under the Demonstration Project launch
  • The federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3771, is signed into law, providing the most comprehensive and enforceable victims’ rights in the federal criminal justice system. NCVLI worked with Senators Kyl and Feinstein in drafting the CVRA, and is named in its legislative history as the exemplary model of legal services to crime victims

2005 - 2006

  • 3 additional pro bono clinics launch under the Demonstration Project, bringing the total number of clinics to 8
  • Membership in NAVRA surpasses 300 and its national teleconference trainings begin
  • Conference attendance breaks prior record
  • NCVLI is the recipient of a new grant from OVC for the Victims’ Rights Enforcement Project (Enforcement Project). Elements of the Enforcement Project include: expansion of 3 of the legal clinics into federal courts to enforce the CVRA in the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, training and technical assistance to these clinics and other participants in the federal criminal justice system, and amicus curiae participation by NCVLI
  • Professor Beloof receives the Attorney General Award for service to victims of crime

2007 - 2011

  • Five additional pro bono clinics launch under the Demonstration Project, bring the total number of clinics 13
  • NCVLI is the recipient of a new Child-Victims’ Rights grant from OVC to address the needs of this vulnerable population and ensure they understand and can exercise their rights.
  • NCVLI is the recipient of the Crime Victims’ Rights Award from the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • NAVRA, NCVLI’s membership alliance, launches a new website with online resources for attorneys and advocates.

2012 - 2013

  • NCVLI is contacted by the U.S. Air Force for assistance to build a program to better support sexual assault victims during military justice proceedings. NCVLI provided extensive consultation and training.
  • The Rights Enforcement Toolkit is launched to help practitioners effectively assert and seek enforcement of their clients’ rights. 


  • NCVLI is the recipient of the Paul H. Chapman Foundation for Improvement of Justice Award and the Mary Byron Celebrating Solutions Award for Innovation in Responding to Violence Against Women


2014 - 2016

  • For the first time in history, the United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments from a victim’s attorney about her rights in a criminal case. NCVLI had been by the victim’s side since 2009.
  • NCVLI launches an Advisory Council to provide input on strategy and programs.
  • NAVRA launches a new website and beginning providing online CLE trainings.
  • NCVLI receives contract to provide statewide training for the Oregon State Victim Assistance Academy.
  • NCVLI’s model of independent legal representation for victims, is adopted by every branch of the U.S. military to respond the sexual assault, and NCVLI continues to train military attorneys to representing sexual assault victims. 
  • NCVLI Executive Director Meg Garvin receives Parents of Murdered Children’s John W. Gillis Leadership Award

2017- Present

  • NCVLI continues to routinely files amicus curiae briefs in state and federal courts nationwide.
  • NCVLI continues to provide training & technical assistance to 10 Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Networks around the country.
  • NCVLI continues to partner nationwide to ensure the next wave of victims’ rights legislation guarantees victims substantive rights and the procedural mechanisms to secure those rights.
  • NCVLI continues to train military attorneys to represent victims of sexual assault.
  • The Victim Litigation Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School continues at full capacity, with law students providing legal research and writing on victims’ rights cases each semester.
  • NAVRA has 2,600 members from 49 states who have access to hundreds of research memoranda, training materials, and legal briefs to aid lawyers and advocates.
  • NCVLI competitively solicited and selected three rural agencies for the Increasing Legal Access to Rural Victims of Crime Project to establish demonstration sites, and now provides training and technical assistance to aid in their development.
  • The 18th Annual Crime Victim Law Conference was held June 6-7, 2019 in Portland, Oregon hosting over 300 participants from around the country.  The 19th Annual Conference will be held June 18-19 in Portland, Oregon.
  • NCVLI is sub-granting to six locations across the country to increase awareness of victims’ rights and increase victim access to no cost legal services through an expanded body of attorneys knowledgeable about rights assertion and enforcement in criminal trial and appellate courts. 

 © 2019 National Crime Victim Law Institute