The needs addressed by this Fellowship were to improve civil legal services to victims of crime affected by fraud and/or identity theft, as well as improving community outreach to increase awareness about consumer fraud, identity theft, and abusive tactics. As a Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellow, Laura provided a range of comprehensive civil legal services to crime victims in her area.
Laura has always wanted to work in public interest. She enjoys talking to clients and being out in the community. She is also bilingual and bicultural and can help better serve Spanish speaking clients.
In the Equal Justice Works Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellowship program, the goal is to increase capacity and access to legal help for crime victims. As the Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellow, Christopher assisted victims of crimes, specifically identify theft, fraud, and hate crimes.
Through this Fellowship, Christopher provided needed legal education, advice, and advocacy, as well as resource referral, to low-income clients, community members, and partnering organizations. This is needed to increase low-income Iowan’s access to justice.
During law school and after graduation, Christopher demonstrated a commitment to public interest law. Before law school, he worked in art education, where he developed and implemented outreach actives for audiences of all ages. He transferred his experience with community program development and legal advocacy to this Fellowship.
Community Legal Aid SoCal (formerly Legal Aid Society of Orange County) has seen an increasing number of immigrant victims of crime. This Fellowship allowed Jessica to provide direct representation to these victims of crime in their immigration matters by helping them obtain a U-Visa, VAWA self-petition, etc. This Fellowship also addressed identity theft that youth in foster care often face.
This project provided victim-centered and holistic legal services to immigrant victims of crime and victims of fraud. Legal services were trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate, victim–centered, and linguistically accessible to survivors of crime.
Jessica believes providing legal representation to victims of crime has its own separate obstacles. An attorney that is representing victims of crime has to be empathetic to the client, try their best to understand the difficulties associated with the representation of victims of crime, and be passionate enough to zealously advocate for one’s client. Jessica is competent to represent victims of crime and she strives her best to become the attorney that her clients deserve.
There has been a tremendous unmet need to provide legal services to identity theft victims, especially for vulnerable populations. There has also been a need to train and educate victim advocates on how to address the economic challenges resulting from identity theft, including screening for other economic/financial abuse issues.
Stephanie primarily provided direct legal services to identity theft victims among vulnerable populations such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking survivors. She also provided training and education to victim advocates regarding identity theft issues.
Stephanie had previously worked with victims of domestic violence in the family law context and she has first-hand experience in seeing the challenges victims have when trying to rebuild their lives. She has a strong desire to help these individuals become economically stable in order to reduce the likelihood of future domestic violence.