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)
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.
Big Changes Are Coming
On Sept. 22, the Grants Management System (GMS) that OVW grantees have been using to report OVW-funded activities will close, and on Oct. 15, a new progress reporting platform—JustGrants—will open. Please see the JustGrants website for more about the transition, and view the OVW Action Dates memo for transition-related date and deadline information. LAV Program grantees will report their progress from July 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, using the new JustGrants system. The instructions and reporting tools on this website will be updated as soon as possible this fall to help you prepare.
Forms & Instructions
2018 Biennial Report to Congress
The Biennial Report to Congress presents aggregate activities and accomplishments that were funded under the Violence Against Women Act and reported by grantees in each funded grant program.