A core aspect of the Project was NCVLI subgranting to three direct service locations in rural communities. Following a competitive selection process, during which NCVLI received applications from 21 states, three were selected:
Family Violence Institute at Northern Arizona University
In 2017, the Family Violence Institute (FVI), based out of the campus of Northern Arizona University, became one of three recipients of a subgrant from NCVLI’s Increasing Rural Access through Technology Project (Rural Project) Grant No. 2017-VF-GX-K130, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. Upon receipt, FVI brought into existence what has become known today as S.T.R.I.V.E. – Sustainable Technology and Resource Interventions for Victim Empowerment.
The STRIVE coordinator educated the community on these resources and worked with service providers and first responders to help victims use technology to simplify their access to justice.
Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
In 2017, Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) became one of three recipients of a subgrant from NCVLI’s Increasing Rural Access through Technology Project (Rural Project) Grant No. 2017-VF-GX-K130, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. This Rural Project created new opportunities for collaboration between MLSA and NCVLI to develop innovative technological tools and solutions to help crime victims access legal information and assistance, and to identify and implement promising practices to enhance legal services for crime victims, particularly in rural settings.
MLSA collects and shares helpful information with crime victims and the service providers helping them navigate the justice system. The website also enables users to search its resource library, apply for legal assistance, chat online with trained Crime Victim Navigators, and use a specially designed Help Tool to find resources specific to their needs while prioritizing user safety, confidentiality, accessibility, and functionality for crime victims in rural areas.
MT VLAN complimented this technological development with face-to-face assistance provided by a dedicated Rural Crime Victim Attorney and Rural Crime Victim Navigator, who fostered critical partnerships and served crime victims in Montana’s rural and remote communities. This combination of innovative technology, dedicated legal support, and partnership building allowed MT VLAN to widen its reach and empower crime victims across the state.
South Carolina Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN)
In 2017, the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN) became one of three recipients of a subgrant from NCVLI’s Increasing Rural Access through Technology Project (Rural Project) Grant No. 2017-VF-GX-K130, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. SCVAN provided direct legal services to South Carolina crime victims in criminal and civil courts. SCVAN also provided training and technical assistance to service providers, law enforcement, and legal professionals. In thinking about the state’s underserved rural areas that face a lack of attorneys and resources, SCVAN designed its Reaching Rural project. Reaching Rural used technology through a multi-tiered approach to connect rural victims and service providers to legal assistance, education, information, and referrals.
|Reaching Rural provided remote legal assistance through its Victims Rights Centers (VRCs), private offices within community partner spaces where victims feel safe and comfortable to videoconference with SCVAN attorneys. If a victim was unable to travel to a VRC, they could videoconference through their Smartphone or personal device via Gruveo technology, which is encrypted and browser-based. An app download is not required for a victim. The project also delivered support through its new legal website.|
The website provides a comprehensive database of local, statewide and national resources, information on crime victims’ rights for victims and providers, and a secure portal where attorneys have access to legal templates, trainings, and guides. By supporting victims and the communities that serve them, Reaching Rural infused much-needed direct assistance and expanded the pipeline of crime victim support to rural communities.
To aid the Sites in leveraging technology to provide holistic legal services to victims, NCVLI provided training and technical assistance to aid in site planning, technology development, and effective delivery of legal advocacy. To achieve this goal, NCVLI contracted with subject matter experts, including two organizations specializing in technology integration.
Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to justice. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise building justice networks, Pro Bono Net enables legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increases volunteer participation, and equips the public with resources and self-help tools to address legal issues.
The Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence addresses the intersection between technology and abuse by providing technical assistance and training to professionals working with survivors and advocating with policymakers and technology companies.
NCVLI collected data throughout the Project to enhance the future provision of effective technology-assisted legal services in rural communities. To ensure comprehensive evaluation and identification of promising practices, the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University assisted in development of an evaluation plan and conducted a comprehensive evaluation that will inform blueprints for other to follow in the future.
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.