What is the New York Crime Victims Legal Network?
The New York Crime Victims Legal Network (CVLN) is a partnership of organizations working together to connect victims of crime with civil legal assistance (non-criminal assistance) through the use of our online resource, NY Crime Victims Legal Help.
People often have legal needs as a result of being a victim of crime. For many crime victims, the problems they face after a crime can be challenging, especially when they have several legal needs and are unsure where they can go for help. In addition to working with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, a victim may also have non-criminal -- civil legal needs -- that impact the basic necessities in their life, like housing, employment, and safety.
We developed this online resource, NY Crime Victims Legal Help, to make it easier for victims of crime to get information and services to help with these civil legal needs.
In October 2018, CVLN launched NY Crime Victims Legal Help as a pilot in Erie, Niagara, and Genesee counties. In 2019 it was expanded to all counties in New York State outside of New York City, with New York City included in early 2020.
Other information and resources on NY Crime Victims Legal Help are available to all victims of crime, attorneys, and advocates.
For more information about the Crime Victims Legal Network, please download our infographic (PDF).
To help promote the network, please download and share the Help for Crime Victims flyer (PDF).
History of the New York Crime Victims Legal Network
The Office for Victims of Crime’s Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services report indicates a serious need for comprehensive, no-cost legal services for victims of all crime types. People often have numerous legal needs as a result of being a victim of crime. For many crime victims, navigating the aftermath of a crime can be challenging, especially when they have overlapping legal needs and are unsure where they can go for help.
To address this need for comprehensive victim services, in 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime funded six demonstration projects across the country to create models of victim legal assistance networks. The goal of these networks was to offer a wider range of legal assistance that victims need as a result of their victimization.
In 2014, the New York State Office of Victim Services became the recipient of a Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime grant award, and partnered with Empire Justice Center, the Center for Human Services Research at SUNY Albany, and Pro Bono Net to create the New York Crime Victims Legal Network. An advisory committee of attorneys, advocates, crime victims, and providers guide and support the development of the Network. Our work is informed by a comprehensive needs assessment that the Center for Human Services Research completed in 2017 to identify existing gaps in civil legal services for crime victims. The complete report is available on CHSR’s website.
Together with the other national networks, we are part of the Office for Victims of Crime’s Vision 21 initiative’s effort to provide holistic legal assistance to all victims of crime.