August 31, 2020

Project Partner Profile: Family Violence Institute of Northern Arizona University

The Family Violence Institute (FVI) at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is the first of its kind in Arizona. It provides a vibrant forum for research, scholarship, education, and public policy work addressing family violence, one of the urgent challenges of our time. The FVI works with communities in Arizona and across the United States to improve coordinated community responses to family violence and prevent homicides and suicides. We also deliver undergraduate and graduate research opportunities for NAU students, conduct program evaluations, organize professional and public events, workshops, and conferences, and offer meaningful opportunities for donors. The FVI is non-partisan, objective, and relies on evidence-based research to inform practice, policy, and grant work. We provide states, cities, municipalities, and communities with the tools to confront family violence. In addition, we contribute to the health, happiness, employability, and productivity of human populations; educate students in the art of conducting research; and enhance student recruitment and retention.

How did you get involved with NCVLI?

The FVI received a grant sub-award in 2017 from the National Crime Victim Law Institute. Upon receipt, staff with the FVI brought into existence what has become known today as S.T.R.I.V.E. – Sustainable Technology and Resource Interventions for Victim Empowerment. Presently, in Santa Cruz County we have developed a strategic partnership with Mariposa Community Health Centers, the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office and an adjacent site at the Sierra Vista Family Advocacy Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona. In Yuma County, we have developed partnerships with the Superior Court of Yuma County and Amberly’s Place. At these predetermined locations, computers with secure technology and accompanying peripherals have been provided for victim advocates to engage clients in need of various legal services. Our technology affords a victim client to complete intake forms for various legal services and representation, secure orders of protection and seek out necessary resources given the individual’s circumstance via an online portal. We also refer victims to legal representation on a low and pro-bono basis. In addition, we have also developed a mobile phone app that allows victims to access legal forms, securely store orders of protection, and provides links to resources.

Tell us about a recent success/deliverable your clinic has achieved.

Technological successes of our program include the project website with resources and the STRIVE portal that provides access to legal forms such as an order of protection and tele-legal video conferencing capabilities. We have also developed a mobile phone application that allows victims to access the project website, portal, and other legal resources. These technological innovations provide victims with opportunities for connectivity without requiring in-person contact, this has been especially significant during the current COVID pandemic due to travel and social distancing restrictions, and has afforded victims with additional opportunities to maintain their confidentiality.

Why should other [individuals/clinics/organizations] interested in victims’ rights get involved with NCVLI?

NCVLI is an excellent organization to work with due to the support and resources they provide throughout program development and implementation. Their ongoing technical assistance with pro-bono attorney recruitment, training assistance, and the NAVRA membership alliance assist with continuous program quality improvement and delivery.

Learn more about the Increasing Rural Access through Technology Project here.