Across our country, victims of crime face significant challenges in accessing comprehensive, trauma-informed legal services. In the summer of 2018, Equal Justice Works launched the Crime Victims Justice Corps, a Fellowship program aimed at helping victims of crime receive civil legal assistance for myriad issues relating to their victimization.
Over the past six months*, the Crime Victims Justice Corps—62 Fellows and 23 law students, serving at 46 legal services organizations nationwide—has been working tirelessly to expand legal services for survivors of human trafficking and other crimes, such as campus sexual assault, hate crimes, fraud, identity theft, and immigrant victims of crime.
Collectively, Fellows have assisted over 1,700 survivors on a broad range of legal services and have facilitated nearly 300 education/training activities to roughly 6,000 individuals.
In one example of community outreach, Fellow Mary Armistead at the Capital District Women’s Bar Association Legal Project learned that local law enforcement had busted a “prostitution ring,” but did not screen the alleged prostitutes for human trafficking, opting instead to arrest them. In response, Mary collaborated with partner organizations to create a training for judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and service providers to identify victims of human trafficking.
Along with legal assistance and trainings, Fellows have conducted over 400 outreach activities, distributing over 10,000 outreach materials—including those developed by Fellows—to potential clients, community partners, and other stakeholders.
At the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, Fellow Verjine Adanalian created a “client reminder brochure,” after noticing that many of her clients would forget significant details of their discussions. Upon learning that trauma dramatically impacts the brain, including how memories are coded, Verjine developed a set of tools to remind clients of next steps, allowing survivors to feel more confident and secure about the legal process.
The needs of crime victims are profound and require long-term multi-disciplinary responses. More than halfway through the two-year Fellowship period, Fellows and law students in the Crime Victims Justice Corps have achieved remarkable results in providing victims of crime with the legal services they need to heal and rebuild their lives. Learn more about the Fellows who are working to ensure that victims of crime have a voice in our justice system.
CVJC is supported by an award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime, Award Number 2017-MU-MU-K131, and private funding. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
*January 1 – June 30, 2019 reporting period.