Crime victims often experience difficult legal problems that can’t be solved through the criminal law system.
For example, a victim of an assault may be unable to work, leading to financial distress including an eviction and debt collection problems. Or, a survivor of domestic violence may need legal help to get a divorce and child support.
The Civil Legal Aid for Victims of Crime Initiative — CLAVC — helps victims of crime throughout Massachusetts with their related civil legal problems — including family law, housing, immigration, disability rights, child welfare, education, consumer, identity theft, employment rights and public benefits.
Six regional CLAVC funded legal aid programs offer a wide variety of civil legal services to victims of crime who live in that program’s geographic service area. Services include: housing, public benefits, family law, immigration, consumer law, health law, disability law, education, elder law, veterans rights, employment rights and much more.
- Community Legal Aid (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester Counties)
- De Novo (formerly Community Legal Services and Counseling Center) (Greater Boston)
- Greater Boston Legal Services (Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts)
- MetroWest Legal Services (Framingham, Metro West region and Southern Norfolk County)
- Northeast Legal Aid (Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties – Northeastern Massachusetts)
- South Coastal Counties Legal Services (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket and Plymouth Counties, and the towns of Avon and Stoughton)
Three statewide CLAVC funded legal aid program offer specialized civil legal services to victims of crime statewide in the areas of children’s rights, disability rights and rape and sexual assault.
- Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts
Helps children and youth with education law, abuse and neglect matters, child requiring assistance cases, immigration (unaccompanied & immigrant minors), and juvenile justice/delinquency matters.
- Disability Law Center
Helps people with disabilities with housing, employment, education, healthcare, and disability rights issues.
- Victim Rights Law Center
Helps sexual assault victims with their legal issues related to privacy, safety, housing, education (K-12 and campus sexual assault), immigration, employment, and financial stability.
The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation provide training, support and overall CLAVC project coordination. The National Consumer Law Center provides additional training and support on consumer law issues.
The CLAVC Initiative is supported by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance through a Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. MOVA advocates for and assists victims of crime through survivor-informed policy development, fund administration, training, and individual assistance.