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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
CVLN Project Preview Phase and Pilot Launch

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback during our preview phase for New York Crime Victims Legal Help! The New York Crime Victims Legal Network (CVLN) developed this online resource to make it easier for victims of crime to get legal information and services in areas such as housing, family law, employment, and immigration. Beginning in early October 2018, this online resource will be piloted in Erie, Genesee and Niagara counties. We previewed the site with Advisory Committee members, their staff and key regional stakeholders in September, and made a number of changes based on your feedback. We will continuing to fine-tune this website's content and features during the pilot launch, and we welcome your ongoing feedback.

Notice any issues yourself, or have questions or suggestions? We want to hear from you! Please email Remla Parthasarathy, Project Director, Empire Justice Center (rparthasarathy@empirejustice.org) and Liz Keith, Program Director, Pro Bono Net (lkeith@probono.net). We encourage you to browse the website on both desktop and mobile devices to see the user experience of each.

Below is a list of known technical and content issues that the Pro Bono Net team is currently working on, along with what you can expect to see from the Network in the months ahead.

General updates

  • Triage / Get Started Tool - In late August 2018, members of the CVLN Advisory Committee joined staff from New York OVS, Empire Justice Center, Pro Bono Net and CHSR in a working session to further envision the referral principles and mechanisms to guide the expansion of the Network's "Triage" tool, which is accessible via the Get Started button. Based on feedback from this meeting, we removed the income and household size questions seen in earlier prototypes, and identified new referral criteria and potential warm mechanisms that will be confirmed in a follow up meeting this fall. We plan to expand this tool's functionality and content in phase III, in line with direct services capacity available at local civil legal aid providers. 
  • Legal Help Directory listings -  As of Sept. 28, we have populated referral listings for all subtopics covered by the site. For most issue areas, the referral listings for Erie, Genesee and Niagara counties are being sourced from LawHelpNY.org's referral listings, which overlap to a large extent with the issue areas covered by New York Crime Victims Legal Help. However, there are some variations in the topics each site covers and special services that may be available to victims. If any corrections or additions are needed to your organization's profile on this site, please contact Taylor Goetzinger, LawHelpNY website coordinator (tgoetzinger@nylawhelp.org). For issue areas without a clear civil legal services provider match, we are drawing on the OVS directory and other sources to provide people with legal-related help from trusted providers.  
  • LiveHelp - Through a partnership with LawHelpNY, LiveHelp (live chat) will be available to assist victims in navigating the website and finding information to address their concerns. LiveHelp will be available for a few hours per week during the pilot launch, during which time LiveHelp operators will receive training on the CVLN website content. Upon completion of training, LiveHelp hours will be expanded to mirror the hours of operation on the LawHelpNY site, which are generally Monday-Friday 9 AM - 9 PM EST.
Known issues as of 9/28/18
  • Employment Law section 
    • Know your Rights content and referral information related to employment law is still in progress and will be updated when finalized in early October. 
What's next for the Network?

Throughout 2019, the Network will expand, with the goal of providing crime victims access to civil legal services in every county in the state outside of New York City. In the coming months and in phase III, areas we will be working on include:

  • A Network logo
  • A graphical "badge" to more clearly indicate Warm Referral Partners in Directory and Triage Tool results 
  • Expansion of the Triage tool and referral information to support a more robust, statewide warm referral model
  • Building out of the Advocate Gateway features and content to support practitioners 
  • Potentially a pop-up glossary of common legal terms in Know Your Rights resources  
  • Creating "signposts" to additional referral resources, for example the Family Offense Petition (FOP) project, LASNNY's Closing the Gap program, and the NYSBA's Free Legal Answers program
  • Resources in languages other than English 
  • Potentially a storytelling area, with composite profiles of victims that illustrate a positive journey from victimization to obtaining assistance and support for legal needs 
  • A fuller accessibility review
  • Enhanced analytics to better track and evaluate visitor engagement with the Network's online resources

Have other ideas or needs that NY Crime Victims Legal Help can support? Please let us know!