The ten OVC-funded Victim Legal Assistance Networks are located in:
- Los Angeles, California
- Denver, Colorado
- Cook County, Illinois
- New York state
- Washington, DC
The Alaska Institute for Justice, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, and the UAA Justice Center have formed a grant partnership of statewide nonprofit and state organizations who work with crime victims in Alaska. The project partners include Alaska Institute for Justice, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Alaska Office of Victims’ Rights, Alaska Violent Crimes Compensation Board, the Municipality of Anchorage Prosecutor’s Office and the Anchorage Mayor’s Office. The project partners work together to implement and enhance a comprehensive, collaborative model for delivering wraparound legal services to all crime victims that can be replicated in other rural states. In particular, the grant partners are developing a language access plan to increase access to services for Limited English Proficient individuals, and creating a referral mechanism to ensure that crime victims are able to access all of the network partners.
The Legal Collaborative for Survivors (LCS) is a Los Angeles-based network of free legal and social assistance providers that promote healing and justice to help survivors of crime rebuild their lives. The project partners include Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Center for the Pacific Asian Family, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, Los Angeles Community Action Network and Los Angeles LGBT Center. LCS works with survivors to increase survivors’ access to a broad range of legal services connected with their victimization. The partnership uses a case navigator model to connect survivors with complex needs to a trauma-informed, culturally competent network of legal and social service providers.
The Legal Information Network of Colorado (LINC) is collaborative model created to deliver holistic, comprehensive, wraparound legal assistance services to Denver area crime victims, leveraging the existing victim services network in the City and County of Denver. The principles of LINC’s model, derived from its comprehensive Needs Assessment, emphasize: (1) connecting victims, victim service providers and the community; (2) providing accessible knowledge to the community; and (3) instituting a human component to help guide victims. The LINC project model rests on the foundational Denver Victim Services Network principle, “no wrong door”, by providing victims with multiple ways of entering into LINC.
The Victim Legal Assistance Network of Chicago (Chicago VLAN) empowers crime victims by providing a holistic wraparound approach to meet their legal and life needs. Chicago VLAN’s holistic model features an interdisciplinary approach where attorneys and social workers/counselors work side-by-side to provide clients with a full range of services. Victims are assigned to an attorney and a case manager who together guide them throughout the legal and recovery processes. Chicago VLAN, coordinated by the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, has assembled a group of Chicago’s legal and social service organizations, victim advocates, and civil and criminal justice system leaders to guide and support the VLAN program’s implementation, and to advance victim services in Cook County.
The Georgia Victim Legal Assistance Network (Georgia VLAN), coordinated by Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, has as its mission to enhance and extend services to crime victims by increasing communication and cooperation among victim service providers. Georgia VLAN includes four legal service organizations as its primary partners (Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers’ Foundation, Georgia Legal Services Program and Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network) and community groups across the state to provide non-legal services to victims of crime. Georgia VLAN is completing an assessment of the needs of Georgia crime victims, developing policies and processes for three pilot projects, with plans to implement the pilots in 2016 including attorneys and navigators.
The Minnesota Crime Victim Legal Services Project (MN-CVLS) is working to expand civil legal assistance for crime victims. MN-CVLS has three pilot sites serving diverse populations and distinct geographic areas in the state. Services are provided by Anishinabe Legal Services on the Leech Lake Reservation in both tribal and civil court, by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid in three very rural counties (Meeker, Renville, Swift), and by Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in an urban county (Scott). These legal services organizations are supported by an advisory group of 10 additional partners including statewide advocacy groups and volunteer lawyer programs. The project is working to expand the impact of the direct services provided by the pilot sites, through training of legal services lawyers, volunteer lawyers, and others on a statewide basis and by increasing website resources available to all crime victims.
Montana victims face unique barriers in accessing services such as a largely rural and isolated population, inclement weather and road conditions, restricted access to communication and transportation services, and limited financial resources. Because of the lack of population and industry, the economies of communities are often unable to provide many with health care, law enforcement, legal services and social services that are desperately needed. To respond to this, the Montana Board of Crime Control, Montana Legal Services Association and the University of Montana came together to coordinate the Montana Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network (Montana VLAN). The Montana VLAN is gathering information about available legal assistance for crime victims which will inform its plan to implement a statewide network that will provide coordinated, comprehensive and holistic legal assistance to crime victims statewide.
Recognizing that crime victims often have a variety of legal concerns directly arising from their victimization, but that these victims seldom receive the legal representation they require, the New York State Office of Victim Services, the Empire Justice Center, Pro Bono Net and the University at Albany’s Center for Human Services Research came together to form the New York State Crime Victims Legal Network Project (NY VLN). The NY VLN is developing new technology solutions to connect victims of crime in areas of the state outside New York City with the services they need. The NY VLN conducted a needs assessment to identify the civil legal needs of crime victims, the gaps between the services needed and the services available, and the role of an online resource in filling these gaps. The findings from the needs assessment are currently being used in the development of a pilot of the network prior to a full roll-out across the state.
The Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network (Texas VLAN) is a collaborative network of free legal services that holistically addresses the legal needs of crime victims. The Texas VLAN is working to improve communication and build reciprocal referral relationships between legal and non-legal service providers in an effort to ensure crime victims stabilize, recover and rebuild their lives. The Texas VLAN is implementing small scale pilot projects in and around the Houston area and will expand to cover 72 counties in Southeast Texas.
The Victim Legal Network of DC (VLNDC) works to leverage the specialized knowledge and unite the resources of the District’s legal community in order to ensure that crime victims are empowered and have all of their legal needs addressed. VLNDC is led by the Office of Victim Services of DC, with the Network for Victim Recovery of DC as the community-based technical assistance partner, and core legal service organizations that include: Amara Legal Center, Ayuda and Legal Aid Society of DC.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-XV-BX-K013, 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 document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.