The Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network project grew out of the Vision 21 initiative, the Final Report of which states:
Every state will establish wraparound legal networks that will help ensure that crime victims’ rights are enforced and that victims of crime receive the broad range of legal services needed to help rebuild their lives in aftermath of the crime.
– Chapter 2, “Meeting the Holistic Legal Needs of Crime Victims”
Based on overwhelming need, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) began funding six Legal Assistance Networks as demonstration sites in 2012, as well as a National Institute of Justice evaluation of these sites. Following an extensive needs assessment involving surveys, focus groups and interviews of service providers and crime victims, the six sites are now in an implementation phase, meaning that they are starting to represent crime victims. These six sites are located in:
- Los Angeles, California
- Denver, Colorado
- Cook County, Illinois
Following the release of the Final Vision 21 Report, an additional four sites were funded in 2014. These sites are in their Needs Assessment Phase to determine exactly what victims in their areas require. These four sites are located in:
- New York state
- Washington, DC
All ten sites are developing networks of legal service providers and other resources to seamlessly support a crime victim in the aftermath of victimization. The vision of the Networks is that there is “No Wrong Door” for a victim seeking legal services. If a victim calls an organization that is not able to meet a specific need, the victim will still be assisted and connected with an organization that can help. Additionally, a crime victim will receive assistance in determining what legal needs (s)he may have, even if (s)he is entirely unfamiliar with legal systems.
Beginning in 2014, NCVLI was chosen to be the training and technical assistance provider to all ten sites. Our role is to:
- Connect the Networks to each other to share knowledge, ideas and resources;
- Provide legal and programmatic technical assistance to strengthen the Networks and their services; and
- Document successes to enhance provision of effective legal services today and into the future.
More about Vision 21
“Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services” was an initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). Vision 21 outlined a philosophical and strategic framework for defining the role of the victim services field in the country’s response to crime and moving the field forward in the future. NCVLI received a grant under the Initiative to take an in-depth look at the role of the crime victims’ field in the overall response to crime and delinquency in the United States. For this project, NCVLI brought together many diverse perspectives in a Stakeholder Group to critically examine and create consensus on foundational questions and proposed answers related to:
- Who is a crime victim
- The field’s response to under- and un-served victims
- Enhancing partnerships and better integrating the field into the broader criminal justice system
- Advancing crime victims’ rights
The final Vision 21 report can be downloaded here.