FAQs2019-09-25T20:29:22+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions About the Networks, Technical Assistance and More

General Victim Legal Assistance Network Information 

1. Q.        What locations have a Victim Legal Assistance Network that was funded by the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)?

1. A.        OVC funded 10 Victim Legal Assistance Networks.  Some of these Networks operate statewide while others focus their efforts in smaller geographic areas.  The following jurisdictions have a Network (alphabetical by state of location):

  • Alaska
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Cook County, Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New York (outside of Manhattan)
  • Texas
  • Washington, DC.

More information about each Network can be found on our Meet the Networks page.

2. Q.        Are there certain types of crime or victim populations that are the focus of the legal services provided by the Networks?

2. A.        No.  A key part of the vision of the Victim Legal Assistance Project was creating systems so that all victims of crime have access to legal services so that “crime victims’ rights are enforced and that victims of crime receive the broad range of legal services needed.”  To achieve this aim, the OVC-funded Victim Legal Assistance Networks serve victims of all crimes from identity theft/fraud to homicide to sexual assault to domestic violence to human trafficking.  The legal needs responded to include legal services related to employment, family, housing, criminal and immigration law.  The systems that the Network lawyers may work within include campus, criminal, civil, tribal and/or administrative.

3. Q.        I have seen the project described with the terms “wraparound,” “holistic” and “comprehensive.”  What do these terms means?

3. A.        These terms are used to describe the effort of the Networks to ensure that crime victims have access to a single network of lawyers who together will work to help ensure that their rights are enforced, including in criminal cases, and that they receive the broad range of legal services needed to help rebuild their lives in the aftermath of their victimization. These legal services might include legal assistance with an ongoing criminal case, housing, employment, immigration, family law and other matters.

4. Q.        How and when were the Networks funded?

4. A.        In FY 2012, in recognition of the preliminary findings of the Vision 21 initiative, OVC launched the Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network Demonstration Project that funded five demonstration legal networks using VOCA dollars.  In FY 2014, OVC awarded Vision 21 funding to four VOCA Assistance formula grant-administering agencies to expand its support of comprehensive legal assistance services.

5. Q.        What is the duration of the Victim Legal Assistance Networks Project?

5. A.        OVC funded two rounds of Networks, the first in 2012 and a second round in 2014. Each Network was funded for 3-5 years.  All Networks followed the same development steps:

  1. Needs Assessment
    • Development of a Steering Committee/Research Team
    • Conduct Needs Assessment
    • Identify Gaps
    • Create Implementation Plan
  2. Implementation
    • Pilot Phase
    • Full Implementation
    • Expansion

6. Q.        Is this Project being formally evaluated?

6. A.        Yes.  In 2012, OVC funded National Institute for Justice to conduct an evaluation on the originally funded Networks, which is forthcoming.

7. Q.        What has NCVLI’s role been on the Victim Legal Assistance Networks Project?

7. A.        In 2014, OVC funded NCVLI to be the Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Provider to the Networks.  In this role we have had four goals: (1) enhance network effectiveness through knowledge sharing systems; (2) facilitate intra- and inter-network collaboration; (3) ensure effective legal advocacy through legal technical assistance and training, and (4) document promising practices to enhance provision of effective legal services today and into the future.

8. Q.        Why is the term “victim” being used rather than “survivor”?

8. A.        While the term “survivor” is certainly one of empowerment for many persons, the term “victim” is used in this project because it is a legal term of art (i.e., a term which is defined by law). Since the Project has a legal focus, “victim” is the term most fitting for use in the name of the Project.  All service providers within the Project will certainly honor the term of preference when working with any individual.

Joining or Launching a Victim Legal Assistance Network

9. Q.        I provide services to crime victims, how can I become part of a Victim Legal Assistance Network?

9. A.        While each Network is uniquely structured in terms of formal membership and partnership, every Network is excited to work with service providers in its area to ensure comprehensive services for victims.  To find the Victim Legal Assistance Network in your area go to our Networks page, where you’ll find Network descriptions and contact information.  If you are working in a jurisdiction that does not have a Network you can join NCVLI’s member alliance – the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys & Advocates (NAVRA) and get connected nationally.  You can also sign up to receive NCVLI’s monthly e-newsletter to stay informed of the latest updates on Victim Law by following the prompts on this page.

10. Q.        I am an attorney who works with crime victims, how can I be placed on the referral list for NCVLI and the Networks?

10. A.        Each Network is uniquely structured in terms of referrals to attorneys.  To find the Victim Legal Assistance Network in your area and ask about its referral list, go to our Meet the Networks page where you will find Network descriptions and contact information.  In addition, regardless of where you work, you can join NCVLI’s member alliance – the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys & Advocates (NAVRA) at www.navra.org; members are notified when a victim is in need of legal representation in their jurisdiction.

11. Q.        My jurisdiction does not have a Victim Legal Assistance Network.  How can we start one?

11. A.        NCVLI is available to consult with you as you work to develop a network.  We have documented the efforts of the nine OVC-funded Networks, and we are happy to share information gleaned from this effort–including promising practices, lessons learned and successes–and to tailor our assistance to your jurisdiction’s particular needs and resources. Please contact us to request further information.  Click here to submit a technical assistance request.

12. Q.        I am a VOCA Administrator interested in helping launch a legal assistance network in my state using VOCA dollars.  What assistance can you offer me?

12. A.       A key effort of NCVLI on this project is documentation of the progress of the OVC-funded Networks for replication by future jurisdictions.  We are committed to helping others learn from the efforts of the existing Networks and avoid re-inventing the wheel. We would be happy to share promising practices, lessons learned and successes in addition to discussing your jurisdiction’s particular needs and resources. To learn more please contact using our technical assistance form.

Legal Assistance, and Training and Technical Assistance

13. Q.        I am working with a crime victim who needs legal assistance.  How can I connect him/her/them with an attorney?

13. A.       There are several ways to connect crime victims with attorneys.

  • If the victim is located in the same area as one of the Networks you can directly contact the Network.  To find the Victim Legal Assistance Network in your area go to our Meet the Networks page, where you will find descriptions and contact information.
  • NCVLI’s online Victim Resource Map has links to resources across the country, including links on how to find an attorney in your area.  You can locate the Victim Resource Map here.

14. Q.        I am a crime victim in need of legal assistance.  How can I access an attorney?

14. A.       There are several ways to connect with attorneys.

  • If you are located in the same area as one of the Networks you can directly contact the Network.  To find the Victim Legal Assistance Network in your area go to our Meet the Networks page, where you’ll find descriptions and contact information.
  • NCVLI’s online Victim Resource Map has links to resources across the country, including links on how to find an attorney in your area.  You can locate the Victim Resource Map here.
  • The Victim Connect Resource Center is a place for crime victims to learn about their rights and options confidentially and compassionately. A program of the National Center for Victims of Crime, it combines a helpline, an online chat, and web-based information and service referrals.  This resource may be accessed online at https://victimconnect.org/ or by telephone at 855-484-2846.

15. Q.        I am an attorney working with a victim on a legal issue and need information on victims’ rights, how can you help?

15. A.        NCVLI can provide research, writing and strategic advice (also known as “technical assistance”) on cases to help protect victims’ rights.  Click here to fill out a technical assistance request.

16. Q.        What if I just want information about victims’ rights but not representation?

16. A.        Each Network, as well as NCVLI, can provide information about victims’ rights to requesters. Information about and contact information for each Network can be found on our Meet the Networks page.  To request information about victims’ rights from NCVLI, you can click here to submit a technical assistance request.