Legal Assistance for Victims Program

Legal representation in family matters is especially crucial for victims of domestic violence, because offenders may continue to exert control over victims by using the legal system to force contact, restrict victims’ access to protection, make implicit threats, and create ongoing challenges through litigation. Through these forms of “paper abuse,” offenders can exert coercive control long after victims end the abusive relationship. (Source)

Program Overview


Legal Assistance for Victims Program

The Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program (LAV Program) is intended to support victims of domestic/sexual violence who are seeking relief in legal matters arising from their abuse. The LAV Program develops innovative, collaborative projects that provide quality representation to victims of domestic/sexual violence, and provides opportunities for communities to examine how the legal needs of victims can be met.

The LAV program makes awards to law school clinics, domestic violence services programs and shelters, bar associations, rape crisis centers, and other sexual assault services programs; private nonprofit entities; Indian tribal governments and tribal organizations; territorial organizations; legal aid or statewide legal services; and faith- and/or community-based legal service providers. Grant funds may be used for direct legal services to victims of domestic/sexual violence. In addition, grant funds may be used to provide enhanced training for lawyers representing these victims, as well as for advocates.

Grantees may provide assistance to adult and youth victims in family, immigration, employment, administrative agency, and housing matters; campus administrative or protection or stay away order proceedings; or other similar matters; in addition to criminal justice investigations, prosecutions, and post-trial matters (including sentencing, parole, and probation) that impact the victim’s safety and privacy.

Progress Reporting Update

July 2020-December 2020 Period

On Oct. 15, the JustGrants progress reporting platform opened. Please see the JustGrants website for more information about the transition. As in the past, Legal Assistance for Victims grantees will report their progress using a fillable PDF form. What’s changed is that the form may be downloaded from this website (click on “Reporting Form” below) and, in December, OVW will also be sending the form to grantees via email. The completed form will then be submitted as an attachment in your JustGrants account.

PLEASE NOTE–NEW DEADLINE: The deadline for the progress report for the July-December 2020 period has been changed to April 15, 2021.