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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Background

The Increasing Legal Access to Rural Victims of Crime Project grew out of the “Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services” (Vision 21) initiative, the Final Report of which states: 

“Challenges remain that prevent victims of crime from fully accessing their legal rights and receiving comprehensive legal services.”

– Chapter 2, Meeting the Holistic Legal Needs of Crime Victims

In particular, the Final Report recognized that the victim services field could be using technology, training and innovation to help ensure that it is equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.  Building on other Vision 21 Initiatives aimed at increasing victim access to legal services, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) launched the Increasing Access to Legal Assistance for Victims of Crime: Innovations in Access to Justice program.  As part of this, in 2017, OVC funded NCVLI to coordinate a national effort to leverage innovative technologies to improve the delivery of holistic, comprehensive legal services to crime victims in rural areas, while also protecting victim privacy and safety and advocating for crime victims’ rights.

In Winter/Spring 2018 NCVLI competitively solicited and selected three rural agencies to establish demonstration sites, and is providing training and technical assistance to aid in their development.  Throughout the Project, NCVLI is assisting each site craft an implementation plan; identify and develop innovative technology solutions; respond to privacy and safety concerns; build strong partnerships; develop policies and resources; and provide holistic legal services to crime victims.  NCVLI is also facilitating cross-site collaboration, conducting program evaluation, and documenting promising practices to inform the field. 

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This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-VF-GX-K130, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.