NYLAG Launches Women’s Clinic for Victim Protection

(New York, NY – September 24, 2009) – The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) announces the opening of its Women’s Clinic for Victim Protection to expand the provision of free legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking to include enforcement of victims’ rights in criminal proceedings. In addition to providing direct legal representation to individual clients, the Victim Protection Clinic will offer training to law enforcement officials, prosecutors, civil attorneys and victim advocates on how to utilize the criminal justice system to its full capacity on behalf of crime victims.

New York has strong laws against domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and stalking. Nevertheless, maneuvering the system to secure these rights is inherently complex. With the support of a competent lawyer, victims can advocate for their rights and take measures to stem further abuse. Because of the unique and varying needs victims face, trained professionals within the criminal justice system and competent, culturally sensitive attorneys are necessary to enforce victim rights.

Based out of Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, NCVLI is a nonprofit organization that promotes victims’ rights, including those of underserved and marginalized victims. Meg Garvin, Executive Director of the NCVLI says “Victims need lawyers who can help them navigate the criminal justice system and secure their rights to privacy, protection and participation. NCVLI is thrilled to partner with NYLAG to ensure that victims in New York are not re-victimized by the very system to which they have turned for help.”

Kim Susser, Director of NYLAG’s Matrimonial & Family Law Unit and Project Director of the new clinic, says of the new partnership, “We are proud to have been awarded this grant. It affords NYLAG the opportunity to develop a more holistic victims’ rights program. Victims’ rights is a burgeoning part of the law and one in which New York should be a leader.”

NYLAG is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 that offers comprehensive, free legal services to vulnerable New Yorkers. Legal services include direct representation, impact and class action litigation, consultation, community education and advocacy. NYLAG is a beneficiary of UJA-Federation of New York. For more information on NYLAG, please visit www.nylag.org. The Victim Protection Clinic is made possible with a grant of $100,000 from the federal Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice sub-awarded by the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) to NYLAG’s Matrimonial & Family Law Unit. NYLAG is the first recipient of this grant in New York State, joining eight existing clinics and three fellow recipients throughout the United States.

Victims seeking assistance through the clinic, please call NYLAG’s intake number: 212-613-5000,Tuesday or Friday.

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The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) provides free civil legal services to New Yorkers who cannot afford a private attorney. Founded in 1990, NYLAG works to empower individuals, protect fundamental legal rights, and promote access to justice. With a reputation for responding quickly to emerging community needs, the agency offers a broad range of high quality and culturally competent services. For more information, go to www.nylag.org.