Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $8,817,916)
The purpose of the Increasing Legal Access to Victims of Crime: Innovations in Access to Justice Programs is to build on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) efforts to support legal services for crime victims to increase legal access to crime victims by launching a three-purpose, expansive legal services program with the objective to enforce victims' rights by 1) Increasing Capacity and Access to Civil Legal Help for Crime Victims Through the Legal Fellows Program, 2) Using Technology/Other Innovations to Increase Legal Access in Rural Areas, and 3) Training and Technical Assistance - Legal Partnerships Increasing Medical Care Advocacy to Crime Victims.
With this award, Equal Justice Works (EJW) will create the Crime Victims Justice Corps (CVJC) of approximately 62 legal fellows working to increase capacity and access to civil legal assistance for crime victims, including victims of human trafficking and victims of other forms of violence. CVJC Fellows will be hosted and supervised by established, qualified nonprofit legal services organizations and supported individually, and as a cohort, with expert training and technical assistance. CVJC Fellows will screen individuals for potential assistance on a comprehensive range of legal issues, and will provide advice, counsel and direct representation and/or meaningful referrals to enforce crime victims' rights. CVJC Fellows will work with crime victims and their families by addressing the collateral consequences of victimization, which may include employment, education, housing, income instability, family law issues, immigration matters, loss of medical care and government benefits, and enforcement of victims' rights. Consistent with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended, Fellows assisting victims of human trafficking will specifically provide comprehensive and holistic legal services addressing the range of legal issues that arise from the victimization such as meritorious immigration relief cases; assistance with civil legal remedies such as family law (including divorce, custody, and child support; emancipation, dependency, or guardianship; and family reunification); protective orders; employment law (including wage and hour claims); public benefits access; assistance pursuing efforts to vacate a victim's criminal conviction and/or expunge a victim's criminal record; crime victims' rights enforcement; and advocacy/support in criminal matters. In addition, the program will support professional training, and public awareness activities. CA/NCF