A core aspect of the Project is 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
The Sustainable Technology Resources & Interventions for Victim Empowerment (STRIVE)
Project serves crime victims in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. This population faces complex issues that impact access to the justice system, including immigration issues of undocumented victims; acute poverty; limited English Proficiency (LEP); inadequate transportation; isolation; and access to support services.
The STRIVE Project is leveraging technology to provide crime victims safe access to legal information, procedures and immigration assistance by increasing online access to necessary forms, creating video-conferencing capabilities for remote court appearance and legal consultation, and developing a phone app with resources for victims.
The Montana Rural Site serves crime victims in the entire state of Montana. Montana is a rural, high-poverty area with limited internet resources and its residents face barriers to legal assistance such as geographic challenges, inability to afford a lawyer and the absence of sufficient free or reduced-fee legal services.
The Montana Site is implementing a comprehensive, collaborative model including innovative technology for delivering no-cost, holistic legal services and information to crime victims to meet all legal needs that arise in connection with their victimization. The Project combines expanded direct rural services, technology solutions, and in-person outreach and training to uphold rural crime victims’ rights in both criminal and civil proceedings; help to hold perpetrators accountable; and provide support, advocacy, and resources to help rural crime victims rebuild their lives.
The Reaching Rural Project serves crime victims in South Carolina’s Beaufort County and the federally designated Promise Zone (Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties). These are each rural, high-poverty areas. Residents in these counties face a high rate of violent crimes with very few lawyers to provide legal support to victims.
The Reaching Rural Project provides victims of crime in these underserved areas representation by attorneys familiar with victims and victims’ rights enforcement as well as access to information and resources through user-friendly technology in addition to training, outreach, and community partnerships. The Project aims to increase the quantity and scope of holistic legal services in the target areas through investment in hardware, legal clinics, and a website.
Sites have begun serving victims under their Projects after conducting community needs and capacities assessments and developing technology tailored to assessment findings.
Click here to read the Press Release announcing site selections.
To aid the Sites in leveraging technology to provide holistic legal services to victims, NCVLI provides training and technical assistance to aid in site planning, technology development, and effective delivery of legal advocacy. To achieve this goal, NCVLI is contracting 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 is collecting 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 is conducting 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.