OVC FY 2017 Increasing Legal Access to Victims of Crime: Innovations in Access to Justice

Funding Agency:
Department of Justice

OVC’s mission is to enhance the Nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for crime victims. OVC fulfills its mission, in part, through improving the skills, knowledge, and abilities of crime victim service providers and allied professionals who serve them, and by helping to ensure that victims are aware of their rights and are able to exercise those rights. The entity awarded funding under this solicitation will undertake activities related to expanding access to legal assistance for victims of crime. The cooperative agreement for this program is awarded under 42 U.S.C. §10603(c)(1)(A) and (c)(3)(E), which authorize funding for training, technical assistance, demonstration projects, and fellowships. It is also authorized by 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b)(2), to develop, expand, or strengthen victim service programs for victims of trafficking.

OVC is responsible for implementing several pieces of federal legislation that are intended to advance victims’ rights and services and improve the skills, knowledge, and abilities of crime victim advocates, service providers, and allied professionals who are responsible for working on behalf of victims. In addition, OVC is dedicated to helping organizations promote awareness of crime victims’ rights and issues and to providing appropriate, trauma-informed services to victims. Notwithstanding decades of progress, gaps remain in the victims’ rights and services field, and in other areas where there is potential to support victims of crime. Sometimes these gaps are due to the lack of adequately trained practitioners who work with victims, which may inhibit the ability to fully understand the impact of crime on victims, and the breadth of support intended for them.

Deadline: July 18, 2017.

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

OVC anticipates that it will make awards under three distinct purpose areas, as follows:

Purpose Area 1 – Increase Capacity and Access to Civil Legal Help for Crime Victims Through Legal Fellows Program (Legal Fellows Program) OVC will make one award of up to $4,000,000, for a 2-year performance period, to a lead organization that will provide overall project management and oversight and, in turn, (a) issue a solicitation for, and select, approximately 25 legal fellows to provide legal services in selected host organizations throughout the country; (b) select an organization to conduct an evaluation of the legal fellows program; and (c) competitively select a TTA provider that will collaborate with the lead organization, the host organizations, the legal fellows, and other entities, as applicable, to provide TTA to the legal fellows

Purpose Area 2 – Using Technology/Other Innovations to Increase Legal Access in Rural Areas OVC will make one award of up to $3,150,000, for a 3-year performance period, to a lead organization with demonstrated experience in providing legal services to rural areas and using technology to advance legal services. The lead organization will competitively solicit and select a minimum of three rural agencies (defined below, see Section C) to provide TTA with the development of innovative methods to increase legal services to crime victims at each site. The award amount includes $2,250,000 to subaward to the selected sites. Building upon OVC’s 2012 and 2014 Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network grants, the purpose of this project is to improve the delivery of holistic, comprehensive legal services to crime victims in rural areas, while also advocating for crime victims’ rights. The selected lead entity must have experience in establishing innovative technological legal services and serving rural crime victims, provide identified technical assistance needed by the selected rural sites and their collaborators, and have a demonstrated capacity to work with rural organizations providing legal services to crime victims in rural areas. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider innovative uses of technology to enhance access to legal services for crime victims, and other innovative forms of legal assistance to underserved populations (e.g., individuals with disabilities, individuals with language and/or cultural barriers). 

Purpose Area 3 – Training and Technical Assistance – Legal Partnerships Increasing Medical Care Advocacy to Crime Victims OVC wil make one award of up to $1,000,000, for a 2-year performance period, to an organization that will provide medical care training, legal advocacy training on medical care advocacy, and technical assistance to all of OVC’s legal service providers and to other OVCfunded grantees, including VOCA Victim Assistance agencies and subgrantees, on medical care advocacy for crime victims. 

Eligibility Requirements

This solicitation seeks eligible applicants under three distinct purpose areas. Applicants may apply for more than one purpose area under this solicitation, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for each purpose area. 

Under Purpose Area 1, by statute, eligible applicants are limited to states, units of local government, federally recognized Indian tribal governments (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), and nonprofit (defined as an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 and is exempt from taxation under 501(a) of such title), nongovernmental organizations (including tribal nonprofits). Applicants must demonstrate a history of providing services (e.g., victim assistance, social services, legal services, shelter, mental health services) to human trafficking survivors. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that “subaward” organizations that host legal fellows providing legal services for human trafficking survivors have a demonstrated history of providing services to human trafficking survivors. Nonprofit organizations that hold money in offshore accounts for the purpose of avoiding paying the tax described in 26 U.S.C. § 511(a) are not eligible to apply.

Under Purpose Areas 2 and 3, eligible applicants are limited to private nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit organizations), faith- and community-based organizations, colleges and universities (including tribal institutions of higher education), and public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribal governments (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), or tribal organizations that can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of civil legal representation for crime victims and the range of services needed; knowledge of, and the ability to successfully execute, the development of training, technical assistance, public awareness, and other informational resources to meet the needs of victim service providers and allied practitioners who serve them; and the capacity to partner with other organizations and key stakeholders to deliver comprehensive, seamless legal services to victims. For these purpose areas, a private nonprofit organization does not have to have 501(c)(3) status to apply for grant funding under this solicitation. 

Purpose Area 2 applicants must have the staff, resources, and capability to develop or enhance a model for delivery of these services. Applicants must demonstrate that they propose to serve a rural area or rural community, and that there is a demonstrated need for legal services in this area. Applicants must provide their definition of a “rural area” or “rural community,” and explain why the targeted area meets the applicant’s definition of “rural area” or “rural community.” 



Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development
Social Sciences

External Deadline

July 18, 2017