1999: Texas Legislature authorized the use of Crime Victims Compensation (CVC) funds for grants to non-profit organizations that provide victim-related civil legal services.
No appropriation for this purpose was secured.
2001: Texas Crime rate was 5,512 crimes per 100,000 persons
4% increase in one year.
Climate of criticism of large amounts of CVC funds dormant in the account
2001: State Bar of Texas Board of Directors endorsed working with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to secure an appropriation of the CVC funds during the 77th session
77th Texas Legislature directed the Office of the Attorney General, in partnership with the Supreme Court of Texas, to create the Crime Victims Civil Legal Services (CVCLS) Program for victims of crime and their immediate family members.
TAJF appointed to handle grantmaking responsibilities on behalf of the Court.
TAJF provides CVCLS funding to:
private Texas nonprofit corporations,
providing free victim-related civil legal services directly to:
immediate family members of victims, or
as defined by Article 56.32 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Organizations applying for funds were to
Identify the needs of crime victims and their families
Develop a plan to meet the need
Enlist collaborative partners to help identify the need and meet it.
Interagency Cooperation Contract between the Office of the Attorney General of Texas and the Supreme Court of Texas CVCLS General Grant Provisions CVCLS Restrictions
Relationship Between Crime and Legal Services (i.e. Suing a car dealer for a lemon not related to DV)
2008 CVCLS Financial Eligibility Guidelines
(187½ % of Poverty)
Household Size Annual Income Monthly Weekly
1 $19,500 $1,625 $375
2 26,250 2,188 505
3 33,000 2,750 635
4 39,750 3,313 764
5 46,500 3,875 894
6 53,250 4,438 1,024
7 60,000 5,000 1,154
8 66,750 5,563 1,284
For each additional person in the household, add:
$6,750 $563 $130
Assessing Financial eligibility
Suggested Ways to Assess Eligibility:
Simply Ask Client about their Income
Concerns with Continued Financial Eligibility
Tax returns on yearly basis
Pay stubs on yearly basis
Expense and Income disclosure every year or six months
Make it clear in the contract that continued financial eligibility is a requirement
Client Eligibility: Who is a victim?
Art. 56.32: “Victim” means an individual who suffers personal injury or death as a result of criminally injurious conduct (or as an intervenor) if:
1. act occurred in TX, and victim is a resident of TX another state, DC, Puerto Rico or US territory/possession; OR,
2. act occurred in a state w/o crime victims compensation program and the victim is a resident of TX and would be entitled to compensation had act occurred in Texas: OR,
3. conduct caused by an act of international terrorism outside of US and victim is a resident of Texas
Client Eligibility: Who is a victim?
Also eligible for CVCLS services are:
“ Immediate family member”: an individual who is related to a victim within the second degree by affinity or consanguinity
“ Claimant”: (a) authorized individual acting on behalf of a victim; (b) individual who legally assumes or voluntarily pays medical/burial expenses of a victim as a result of CIC; (c) dependant of a victim who died as a result of CIC; (d) immediate family or household member who requires psychiatric care or incurs certain expenses as a result of CIC; or authorized individual acting on behalf of child described in (c) or (d)
Additional Definitions in Art. 56.32
What is the definition of “personal injury”?
Physical or mental harm
What is the definition of “criminally injurious conduct”?
Conduct that occurs or is attempted;
Poses a substantial threat of personal injury or death;
Is punishable by fine, imprisonment or death; and,
Does not arise out of ownership, maintenance or use of motor vehicles unless intended to cause personal injury or death
Criminally Injurious Conduct (cont):
Describe the criminal conduct.
There is no requirement that Grantees must reference a specific section of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Grantees should insure that the description of the criminal conduct clearly supports the definition of “criminally injurious conduct” so as to comply with grant conditions. Use plain English.
For example: “Jane was assaulted by John on numerous times, the most recent on January 20, 2009.”
Describe the injury. There are no magic words.
Relate the injury to the criminally injurious conduct.
For example: “Jane received cuts to her forehead, bruising on her arms and suffered mental distress.”
Connection Of Legal Services to the Criminal Injury
Describe how the legal services provided to the client are related to the criminal injury.
Use Plain English
“ The protective order will help to protect Jane from further physical and mental abuse.”
“ The food stamps/other public benefits that we seek on Jane’s behalf will allow Jane to spend her money on rent rather than on food/other public benefits so that Jane doesn’t have to continue to live with and be financially dependent upon her abuser.”
“ Eviction representation will allow Jane to stay in her rental unit and protect her from eviction caused by the actions of her abuser the day that he injured her.”
“ Representing Jane before the Truancy Court due to the unexcused absences of her children that occurred after and as the result of her injuries and while she was recovering and hiding from her abuser will allow her to avoid a truancy conviction.”
“ Representing Jane before an ALJ at her Social Security Disability hearing will allow her to receive disability income that will assist her in remaining free from her abuser.”
“ Representing Jane at the TWC unemployment benefits hearing will allow her to keep her job, from which she was terminated following missed days at work due to the injuries she sustained by her abuser.”
SCREENING AND INTAKE FORMS. DOCUMENTING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TYPE OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY INVOLVED, THE SPECIFIC INJURY SUFFERED BY THE VICTIM AND THE LEGAL SERVICE TO BE RENDERED
The Client’s file should contain documentation that describes:
(1) the criminally injurious conduct;
(2) the injury; and
(3) the connection of legal services to the injury.
CVCLS INTAKE SCREENING FORM, developed by the OAG
must be completed and retained by Grantees for audit
allows for easy documentation of these three factors
Good practice: keep the completed form in the Client’s file.
Can be incorporated into the Case Management System of some Grantees.
Completing the CVCLS Eligibility Form
Gather info during the interview process.
No requirement that the Client make a sworn statement
No requirement that the client sign a statement attesting to the accuracy of the information on the form
No requirement that the Client make or file a police report with any law enforcement agency.
No requirement that the Client receive medical attention for the injuries sustained as a direct result of the criminally injurious conduct
If documentation does exist that verifies that the injury was the result of criminally injurious conduct, you can attach
Legal Advocacy Expectations Family Law and Beyond Linda Good (Lone Star), Melissa Lopez (Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services), and Kevin Dietz (TRLA)
CVCLS FUNDING EXPECTATIONS
Expectation that your CVCLS funded legal work is tied to a crime
Expectation that your legal work will ameliorate the effect of the victimization and prevent future violence
Expectation that your efforts will be holistic and provide “wrap around” services and/or referrals
Expectation that the services you provide will go beyond basic domestic relations issues
Holistic Intake = Emergency Room for Legal Issues
Information captured at intake drives services provided
Vital signs taken from ALL patients.
Underlying health issues MUST be addressed.
Complicating or life-threatening conditions are treated to stabilize the patient.
People apply for legal help because of primary problems
Eviction and Foreclosure
Universal screening reveals secondary issues:
Eviction because law enforcement was called to the home
Foreclosure because of lack of access to funds
Repossession because abuser is sabotaging efforts to work or go to school
Job loss because abuser caused problems at the job site
Stabilizing secondary issues ameliorates past, present, and future effects of violence
Advocacy on Food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, public housing stabilizes finances
Advocacy on the rights of tenants stabilizes housing
Advocacy with employers can stabilize employment
Economic dependency is the #1 reason for returning to or staying with the abuser
Intake as E.R. screening
Ask the questions
Capture the data
Use the information to address ALL of the issues
Document ALL of your efforts
Document ALL referrals
Report ALL of your work
Tools for Intake
Comprehensive Issue Spotting: A Tool for Civil Attorneys Representing Victims of Domestic & Dating Violence, Sexual Assault & Stalking
The ABA tool can be used to develop comprehensive intake, advocacy, and referral options
Use to “facilitate effective and holistic client centered representation.”
Tools for Intake
Texas Access to Justice provides technical assistance regarding case management systems and/or intake systems
Lone Star Legal Aid and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid have screening modules built into point of intake and case management tools and can provide technical assistance.
Accessibility and Access Anne Chandler (UofH) Shelly Siegfried (FVPS)
Accessibility & Access
Best Practice Models- CONNECTING…
Effective referral systems & collaborations to increase client access (Shelly);
Serving vulnerable populations that fall outside of traditional referral networks (Anne)
Expanding services to geographic areas distant from your agency’s office (Linda)
Effective Referral Systems & Collaborations to Increase Client Access
Local Law Enforcement Agencies
Child Protective Services
Office of the Attorney General
Domestic Relations Office
Court Staff Attorney
Safe Exchange / Visitation Facilities
Legal Community / Bar Associations
Domestic Violence Hotlines / Directories
Inside Resources Legal Advocate Counselors / Psychologists Caseworkers Court Liaison Individual Walk / Call Ins Seminars / Workshops
Serving Vulnerable Populations
Who Makes It To Your Door?
Who is not knocking at your door for help? and why?
Within your community, who are the vulnerable ones- are they being served?
The chalkboard: should you or should you not amend your game plan?
Assuming, you amend your game plan...
What factors make vulnerable populations, vulnerable?
Given your shoestring budget, what’s your recipe for success?
Friends with $, a new partner or two, an open mind (and did I mention, a few late nights)
Everything I Know About Expanding Services I Learned in Kindergarten
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
How to Apply The Rules:
Give up your secrets-to-success, materials and other items you have created.
No surprises! Get buy-in early on and know all the players.
Be honest about what you can commit to in this new area and what happens if/ when you have to go away.
Stress the commonalities and assure everyone understands we’re stronger by working together!
Reporting Linda Good Melissa Lopez Diana Velardo
Quarterly Reports Content
Different Models on How to Keep Track and Report Case Closures
What constitutes a “closed Case”?
Reporting Requirements Quarterly Reports
Grant year runs from September 1 st –August 31 st of any given year
Reports are generally due 15 days after the end of the quarter period (Example: September 1, 2007 to November 30 th 2007 was due on December 16 th 2007)
Four Reports during the grant year (Usually Dec, March, June, and Sept)
Quarterly Report Content
Report is a combination of:
List of Targeted Organizations for Outreach
Number of closed cases by County and Rejected cases
Client success stories
Different Models on How to Keep Track and Report Case Closures
Model One: Organizations with one or few number of Persons on the Grant or with One Type of Legal Work
Case Worker keeps track of stats through Excel spreadsheets &
Case Worker runs Reports from Excel at the end of quarter
Model Two: Combination of Paper Based and Computer Based Reporting
Create and maintain paper version of a close out form with all CVCLS info
Turn close out form and file to office manager
Keep copy of paper form in a CVCLS binder and client’s closed file
Upload information on an excel spreadsheet for back-up and storage location of file
Model Three: Large Orgs with Ability to Create Special Computer Programs
The use of a Computerized database specifically designed for grants
At initial intake , gather and input all data needed to qualify client
Specific Screens serve to walk case handlers through the requirements of the grant and provide fields in which to enter the necessary data.
The click of one check box on those screens triggers the case to populate a report that is run from the database listing all cases that qualify under the grant.
The intake workers ask key questions that alert the case handlers to assess the client’s situation under the grant.
The case handlers ensure the CVCLS screens are completed when the matter is closed.
The IT department runs the report at the end of each quarter.
What Constitutes a Closed Case?
Depending on policies and office management and personnel
Matter vs. Client or Information vs. Provision of Legal Assistance
Same Client but different “cause number” , then two cases
Same client, but different adverse parties, then more than one case
(i.e. Client is represented in a food stamp case, a medicaid case, TANF case = 3 cases)
Each matter can be considered a closed case if the matter is not a necessary part of the legal representation
(i.e. client gets her Legal Permanent Residency approved and then seeks to get citizenship. =Two cases to be closed)
Each person’s file constitutes a single case, regardless of related or unrelated matters
(i.e. client gets a divorce, and then has an immigration petition filed, then seeks to amend custody agreement. =One case to be closed)
Each related matter of same person constitutes a closed case, a new case is opened for same person with unrelated matter
(i.e. client’s divorce case is closed and then client wants to file an immigration petition. =Two cases to be closed )
Client Issues – Non Legal Shelly Siegfried (FVPS) Jonathan Miller (CCSA)
Client Issues – non legal
Shelters, Law Enforcement
Financial / Medical Support
Human Services, Crime Victims Compensation
Employment / Education
Employment Agencies, Education / Training Programs
Emotional / Psychological Support
Counseling, Support Groups
Shelters, Transitional Programs
Inpatient and Outpatient Programs
SO WE KNOW WHAT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS ARE: Day to Day Living Issues
BUT WHO KNOWS THE SOLUTIONS???
I SURE DON’T - ALL I KNOW IS LOTS OF
PHONE NUMBERS TO CALL AND HERE THEY ARE:
Client Issues-Non Legal
Victims of Family Violence Can Get Waiver for Electric and Telephone Service Deposit: (800-525-1978) www.tcfv.org/WaiverofGasServiceDeposit.pdf
Lite-Up Texas (Low-Income Telephone and Electric Utility Program: LIHEAP (866-454-8387) www.puc.state.tx.us/ocp/assist/liteup/index.cfm
Link Up Program (Reduced Cost Installation of Telephone Service:
Wills Clinic (Free Legal Will Services for Low-Income Persons
By appointment Only: call 271-9846 or 212-3700 (espanol) to be evaluated
Citizenship Classes in San Antonio 210-241-2759
Women’s Support Group of the Family Violence Prevention Services in San Antonio: 210-930-3669
Internet References Texas Online/ Victim Resource s (OAG, DPS, TDCJ) City of Austin Crime Victim Services (Austin) Corpus Christi Crime Victim Services (Corpus Christi) Dallas Police Department Crime Victims Services (Dallas) El Paso Police Department Crime Victims Services (El Paso) Harris County Crime Victim Services (Houston) San Antonio Police Department Crime Victim Services (San Antonio)
Law Help Outside our Particular Areas of Practice
Resources Debra Wray (LSLA) Jonathan Miller (CCSA)
° National Resources
° Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center (OVCRC), National
° Texas Attorney General Victim Assistance Program
° Women’s Centers and Shelters
° Children’s Advocacy Programs
° Court Appointed and Special Crime Victim Advocates
° United Way and associated non-profit agencies
° District Attorney’s Office, Crime Victims Services
Best Practices Ann Chandler (UH Law Center) and Kevin Dietz (TRLA)
Best Practice – the Buzzword
Best Practice is an idea that asserts that there is a method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications.
Beyond the Buzz
High Quality Civil Legal Services for Victims of Crime
The Road Map
Formally Adopt Standards of Practice
American Bar Association: The Source
ABA has formally adopted standards of practice relevant to the use of CVCLS funds
Standards for Lawyers Representing Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking (2007)
Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid (2006)
Best practices are only as good as the intake done by your staff
Comprehensive, holistic intake is best practice
Tools are available to assist you with developing best practices related to intake
E.g., Comprehensive Issue Spotting, A Tool for Civil Attorneys Representing Victims
A case management tool is essential
Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Texas Access to Justice Commission can provide technical assistance
The LSC funded programs all use case management programs and can assist with technical information
Texas C-Bar at www.texascbar.org
Cooperative Agreements with Other Agencies
Given specialization and lack of resources relative to unmet needs, we must create formal and informal agreements with other service agencies
High Quality Requires Measurement
Given the need for services it is all to easy to ignore surveying need
Failure to measure need leads to blind spots, e.g., lack of Protective Orders in many rural counties
Measurements can come from external sources such as the Texas Council on Family Violence, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Department of Public Safety
High Quality Requires Measurement, Con’t
Failure to measure outcomes leads to similar blind spots, e.g., lack of documentation of CVCLS services provided in many rural counties
Does your organization do follow up surveys with clients? With partners?
If not, why not?
Impossible to met the goal of high quality civil legal services if you are not asking your clients and partners follow up questions about how you are doing.
Client Stories, public relations and media advocacy Iliana Holguin (DMRS) Linda Brandmiller (CCSA)
Maximizing Advocacy Efforts
Best Practice Models- SHARING…
How can grantees maximize advocacy to publicize the program and promote the work and importance of the funding?
Drafting Effective Client Stories
Public Relations and Media Advocacy
Drafting Effective Client Stories
Questions to ask when drafting client stories:
What is the crime that makes a client eligible for CVCLS funds?
What legal services were provided?
When were the legal services provided?
Drafting Client Stories (cont.)
Ineffective Client Story:
“ Our client is a victim of domestic violence. We referred her to Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse. We assisted AVDA in providing translations services while continuing to provide case management to our client.”
Drafting Client Stories (cont.)
Effective Client Story:
Maribel* had been happily married for two years until her husband lost his job and began drinking heavily. He began to abuse her physically and emotionally, and would not allow her to seek medical attention for her severe injuries. Maribel tried to leave him several times, but her husband threatened to kill her and their daughter if she left. Finally, Maribel was able to flee to a woman’s shelter with her child. She came to our office for help last month, and we were able to file a petition for divorce and full custody of her daughter for Maribel, as well as obtain a protective order against her ex-husband. Maribel has relocated to another city with her daughter, where she volunteers at a local woman’s shelter.
Drafting Client Stories, Cont.
Effective Client Story in non-DV setting
Nancy* was offered a job as a nanny and housekeeper by a U.S. family vacationing in the Philippines. Nancy was offered $1,200 per month to care for the family's children and to perform general housekeeping duties. Once Nancy arrived in the US, her passport was taken from her, and she was told that her pay would be reduced in order to cover the costs of her travel. Ultimately, Nancy was paid between $50-$200 per month for being on-call 24 hours per day caring for the children and tending to the house. Nancy was also prohibited from making telephone calls to her family and from socializing with anyone outside of the home. The family frequently lent Nancy to their friends, and kept the money that was paid to her. Unbeknownst to the family, Nancy made a friend online. This friend eventually purchased a bus ticket in Nancy's name, and Nancy was able to escape from her employer's home and make it to the bus station. While on the bus traveling through West Texas, Nancy was detained by U.S. Border Patrol for not being in possession of any legal immigration documents. When Nancy explained that her employer had taken her documents from her and forced her to work for years without adequate pay, Border Patrol contacted the El Paso Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce. The Taskforce, of which our office is a member, immediately began working together to provide protection and legal assistance to Nancy. Last month, we obtained certification for Nancy as a victim of human trafficking, who is now in the process of applying for benefits under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Top 10 Things to Remember About Public Relations and Media Advocacy 10) The media have tight deadlines- know them and plan ahead (ex. TV news broadcast vs. newspaper); 9) Find the interesting client story (school child, volunteer, entrepreneur, etc.); 8) Circulate your name among the media outlets as an expert in your area; 7) Be flexible when last-minute fillers are needed (be their best friend when they need a fast turn-around); 6) Less is more- beware of the one-statement-too-many danger;
Top 10 Things to Remember About Public Relations and Media Advocacy, Continued 5) Media is more than TV and radio- (campus outlets, neighborhood news, church bulletins)- be creative; 4) Get on the speakers circuit (association meetings, conferences, community groups); 3) Small investment = large payback (bumper stickers, magnets, certificates of appreciation, etc.); 2) Clients tell their stories best; 1) Remember the sound-bite rule (taken out of context how will your statement sound/look?)