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NY Crime Victims LEGAL HELP

Connecting Crime Victims with Civil Legal Assistance
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NY Crime Victims LEGAL HELP New York State

Connecting Crime Victims with Civil Legal Assistance

NY Crime Victims Legal Network Referral Partner
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Crime Victims Legal Network?

The Crime Victims Legal Network (CVLN) started as a federally funded partnership between the NYS Office of Victim Services, Empire Justice Center, Pro Bono Net, and the Center for Human Services Research at the University of Albany, to develop a comprehensive, collaborative approach to meeting the civil legal needs of crime victims. The Network includes an Advisory Committee comprised of a diverse group of professionals from across the state.

What is NY Crime Victims Legal Help?

NY Crime Victims Legal Help is an online resource developed by the CVLN to connect victims of crime to civil legal assistance. Through the site’s features, victims can – alone or with an advocate – identify their victimization, the civil legal needs they may have, access online and interactive forms, find assistance, and directly connect with legal services. 

The “NY Crime Victims Legal Network” is the people; “NY Crime Victims Legal Help” is the technology.

Currently, this online resource is being piloted in three counties in western New York.  This year it is gradually being expanded to include other regions of New York State outside of NYC. 

What is a Network Referral Partner?

Referral Partners are organizations that have agreed – through a MOU with the CVLN or through a contract with OVS – to offer an additional mechanism through which a crime victim user of NY Crime Victims Legal Help can access legal services. These “warm referral mechanisms” are designed to make it easier for a crime victim to connect with the civil legal help they need.

Any civil legal organization can become a referral partner. 

Victim Assistance Programs (VAP) or Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) that have contracts with OVS to provide attorney services through the June 2018 Attorney Services Request for Application are required to be a Referral Partner.

My organization has an OVS contract through the June 2018 Attorney Services RFA. What are our obligations to the NY Crime Victims Legal Network?

Any VAP/CAC awarded a contract under the 2018 NYS Office of Victim Services Request for Application for Attorney Services is required to be a Referral Partner for the Crime Victim Legal Network.  All attorneys funded under this grant must be their organization’s point of contact, and communicate, coordinate and collaborate with the CVLN (once the website has expanded to their geographic region) to ensure that victims are receiving the most comprehensive response.

What is expected of referral partners?

Referral Partners are expected to:

  • Establish a “warm referral mechanism” that will make it easier for crime victim users of NY Crime Victims Legal Help to contact them.
  • Return requests for assistance from crime victims users within two business days.
  • Accept potential client referrals from the NY Crime Victims Legal Network and its website, and agree to:
    • Screen and refer clients if unable to provide services; 
    • Provide advice and assistance;
    • Offer limited scope representation; or
    • Provide full legal representation.
  • Collect, maintain, and report data and statistics, as needed, to the CVLN administrators;
  • Maintain your organization’s contact information and profile that is on the CVLN website;
  • Attend meetings of the CVLN (this may be via webinar); and
  • Welcome the opportunity to receive legal training through CVLN.
What are the warm referral mechanisms?

Referral Partners have the option to use one or both of the following warm referral mechanisms which have been designed to make it easier for crime victims to connect with civil legal help:

  • Establishing a dedicated phone number for users of NY Crime Victims Legal Help
  • Receiving referral requests via emails from crime victims through NY Crime Victims Legal Help

The warm referral mechanism offered by a Referral Partner will be indicated by an icon.

Example of a user’s Legal Help Directory search result on NY Crime Victims Legal Help (This user experience workflow is currently in development): 

Legal Help Directory Listing for Warm Referral Organizations

What does “establishing a dedicated phone number” entail?

If choosing this warm referral mechanism, the provider must secure a specific phone number or extension for crime victim users of NY Crime Victims Legal Help. This number must be separate and different from their normal intake number. The line can be staffed, or calls can go to a voicemail box with calls being returned within 1-2 business days. Outgoing voicemail message should ask callers to leave a safe number where they can be reached. Providers should verify that the caller is a victim of crime and was directed to them through the website.

What does “receiving referral requests via email” entail?

If choosing this warm referral mechanism, crime victims will be able to email the provider directly through the site to request assistance. A standardized email will be generated by the NY Crime Victims Legal Help website, and will contain minimal information such as crime victim name, county of residence, area of legal concern, and a safe way the victim can be reached.  Providers must contact the crime victim within 2 business days and verify crime victimization.

Sample Email:

After sending the email through NY Crime Victims Legal Help, crime victim users will see a pop-up confirmation message: “Your email has been sent. The provider will contact you within 2 business days.”

What steps should I take to become a Referral Partner?

Please contact the Project Leader, Remla Parthasarathy (RParthasarathy@empirejustice.org). She will discuss completing a “CVLN Referral Partner Form” and answer any of your questions.

The CVLN Referral Partner Form collects information about the legal services offered by the referral partner.  This information will be used to generate results for the Legal Help Directory.

To ensure that the crime victims are only referred to a Referral Partner that can help, it is essential that recipients of an OVS June 2018 Attorney Services award accurately indicate the types of civil legal services being provided to crime victims through their contract with OVS.
 
When will my county be included on NY Crime Victims Legal Help?

The first stage of gradual rollout will be the Albany and Hudson Valley regions. Organizations in the following counties will be included in the Legal Help Directory for an estimated May-June 2019 rollout:

Albany Clinton Columbia Essex
Franklin Fulton Greene Hamilton
Montgomery Rensselaer Saratoga Schenectady
Schoharie St. Lawrence Warren Washington
Dutchess Orange Putnam Rockland
Sullivan Ulster Westchester  

 

The remaining counties outside of NY City will be included in stages by October 31, 2019.

For more information, please contact:

Remla Parthasarathy
Project Leader, NY Crime Victims Legal Network
Empire Justice Center
Telesca Center for Justice
One West Main Street, Suite 200
Rochester, NY 14614
(585) 295-5834
https://crimevictimshelpny.org/
www.empirejustice.org