Washington DC Victim Legal Assistance Network
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.
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 their legal needs addressed. DC’s unique demographics, small geographical region and lack of holistic victim services agencies made it a well-suited jurisdiction to serve as a legal network model for other cities and regions throughout the country that have high violent crime rates.
While DC has experienced a record low number of crimes for this jurisdiction, violent crime in DC is still staggeringly high. In 2015, 36,994 total crimes were reported, with 6,331 of these being violent ones. 2016 is on track to match these unacceptable numbers. Between calendar years 2013 – 2015, the District has had over 3,000 crimes each year classified as “assault with a deadly weapon.” These crime numbers classify the District as one of the deadliest cities in the United States, with a homicide rate in 2013 and 2014 that exceeded all but 10 other major cities.
As a result, in 2014, after a rigorous application process, the Office of Victim Services of DC (OVS), with the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) as their community-based technical assistance partner, was one of the few jurisdictions in the nation to be awarded funding to establish the VLNDC.
Since 2014, VLNDC, led by NVRDC as the lead legal services provider, has been working with the following core legal service organizations to plan the network structure and services: Amara Legal Center, Ayuda, Legal Aid Society of DC.