National Evaluation of the Legal Assistance for Victims Program

By: Institute for Law and Justice & National Center for Victims of Crime. Published by the National Institute for Justice. Published on January 24, 2005.

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The researchers used a triangulation method of collecting data through analyzing quantitative agency data, telephone surveys, mail surveys, interviews and focus groups, and case studies. They conducted an evaluation of LAV-funded projects.

They find that almost 98 percent of grantees hired attorneys using LAV funds, ranging from 25 percent of an attorney’s time to the equivalent of six full-time attorneys. They find that of LAV grantees, the mean number of cases increased from the first year of LAV funding to the most recent year of LAV funding. They also find that most of the 20 grantees had multiple formal partners. Of those helped by LAV grantees 90 percent had children and 60 percent had at least two children. 94 percent of clients were “extremely satisfied” with their attorneys. 88 percent of clients said they took additional steps to improve their safety as a result of talking with someone about safety planning. However, many grantees reported having to turn away eligible victims because the organization lacked the staff to help them.

Highlights include:

  • “On the follow-up survey, only 36.5 percent of grantees reported that they could provide legal serves to most victims (between 80 and 100 percent) who requested those services. Another one-third (35.2 percent) indicated they could handle from 50 to 80 percent of requests. The remaining grantees (28.4 percent) reported handling fewer than half of the requests received from eligible domestic violence victims” (p. 12).
  • “On the follow-up grantee survey, the most frequently mentioned solutions to attorney recruitment and retention problems were mentoring and training; generous benefits, which some grantees characterized as “family friendly;” and assistance with paying back law school loans.” (p. 12)
  • “Over 90 percent of clients were very satisfied with the outcome of their protection order, custody, or divorce case. Outcomes for visitation cases also received a high satisfaction rating (88 percent).” (p. 10).
  • “Results of the follow-up grantee survey suggest that LAV projects’ use of pro bono attorneys increased. Sixty-two (62) percent of grantees responding to the second survey reported using pro bono attorneys under their LAV grants, compared to about 50 percent on the first survey.” (p. 9)

Categories: Domestic Violence, Family, Family, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics, Victims of Crime

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