Rights in Systems Enforced Project — RISE Clinics
RISE Rights Enforcement Project
The vision of the Rights in Systems Enforced (RISE) Project is a national network of legal clinics providing legal representation to assist victims in asserting and seeking enforcement of their rights in criminal cases, and, as necessary during and in support of such representation, provide those victims representation on collateral civil legal matters arising from the victimization. RISE positions NCVLI as the national training and technical assistance (TTA) provider to these clinics.
Rights in Systems Enforced (RISE) Project
In 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. §3771. The CVRA sets forth eight specific rights for crime victims and details how victims can assert and seek enforcement of those rights during the criminal investigation and prosecution of their offender. CVRA rights attach to federal criminal justice proceedings. States across the country have laws (found in the constitutions and/or statutes) with rights similar to the CVRA. In 2002 OVC first funded a national effort to create victims’ rights enforcement legal clinics, together with a training and technical assistance provider, which worked to ensure that victims were accorded their rights at the state and federal levels.
While these efforts demonstrate great progress, many victims remain unaware of their rights and many others lack support to seek enforcement of their rights. Moreover, many civil legal attorneys who are experienced with providing services to crime victims have not incorporated crime victims’ rights enforcement into their practice. Thus, crime victims who frequently need assistance with both the enforcement of their rights in criminal proceedings and advocacy on civil legal matters that result from the victimization find themselves without full support. In addition, prosecutors, advocates, and other professionals working with victims often lack training and support regarding the meaning and scope of victims’ rights, the significance of those rights to victims, and how to enforce those rights.
To address these issues, the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has funded a number of legal service initiatives over the years that target increasing victims’ rights assertion and enforcement, including the Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network and Increasing Legal Access to Rural Victims of Crime Projects. The most recent of these is the Rights In Systems Enforced – RISE Project. RISE is a national effort built upon lessons learned from previous rights enforcement projects. RISE positions NCVLI as the national training & technical assistance (TTA) provider to six competitively selected subgrantee rights enforcement legal clinics.
Over the last several years, OVC has supported various civil legal assistance initiatives to help address myriad civil legal needs of victims in the aftermath of a criminal act. While these efforts have encouraged and, in some instances required, the provision of legal services to aid victims’ rights enforcement in criminal cases, many victims remain unaware of their rights and are without support to assert and seek enforcement of those rights during the criminal investigation and prosecution of their offender. Moreover, many civil legal attorneys who are experienced with providing services to victims have not yet incorporated victims’ rights enforcement into their practice. Notably, crime victims frequently need assistance with both the enforcement of their rights in criminal proceedings and advocacy on the collateral civil matters that result from their victimization. Prosecutors, criminal justice professionals, attorneys, advocates, and other professionals working with victims also need training and support to better understand crime victims’ rights, the significance of those rights, and how to secure enforcement of those rights. The RISE Project is intended to expand on federal, state, local, military and tribal efforts to enforce crime victims’ rights and provide crime victims with access to legal representation to assert and seek enforcement of their rights throughout criminal justice processes.
Building on various DOJ-funded criminal and civil legal assistance initiatives to help address myriad legal needs of victims in the aftermath of a crime, in 2018 the federal Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) funded NCVLI to establish and provide training and technical assistance to six rights enforcement legal clinics to (1) provide victims with crime victims’ rights enforcement and representation, when necessary to further their rights enforcement work, on collateral civil legal matters; (2) raise awareness about crime victims’ rights among prosecutors, criminal justice professionals, attorneys, local bar associations, law students, advocates, and other allied professionals working with victims, and (3) expand the body of professionals who will advocate for the enforcement of crime victims’ rights. In 2020 an additional four additional Clinics were added to the Project.
As part of its training and technical assistance to the clinics, NCVLI offers regular trainings to enhance practitioners’ ability to provide legal representation to assist victims in asserting and seeking enforcement of their rights in criminal cases, and, as necessary during and in support of such representation, provide those victims representation on collateral civil legal matters arising from the victimization. Trainings online and in-person include intensive trainings on the “how to” of litigating victims’ rights to grow the national capacity for this work.
Additional resources can be found in our Victim Law Library.
Interested in becoming part of the national effort to increase rights enforcement? Join NCVLI’s Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys and Advocates – NAVRA.
2020-2021 – RISE Clinics Respond to COVID-19
September 2020 – Creating Change Through Appellate Work
August 2020 – RISE Clinic Profiles
RISE Project Clinics
A core aspect of the RISE Project is NCVLI subgranting to six direct service providers to provide legal representation to assist victims in asserting and seeking enforcement of their rights in criminal cases, and, as necessary during and in support of such representation, provide those victims representation on collateral civil legal matters arising from the victimization. Following a competitive selection process, six were selected.
Arizona RISE Clinic
California RISE Clinic
Chicago RISE Clinic
Florida RISE clinic
Michigan RISE Clinic
Montana RISE Clinic
Ohio RISE clinic
South Carolina RISE Clinic
Washington DC RISE Clinic
What is the anticipated duration of the Clinics to be funded under the RISE Project?
Following a competitive national RFP process, in 2019 NCVLI funded six Clinics; these are located in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Washington DC. Building on the success of these Clinics, in 2020 OVC funded four more Clinics in California, Montana, South Carolina and Washington DC. The original six Clinics were funded by this project through November 2021; the four Clinics funded in 2020 are anticipated to be funded by this project through September 2023.
What types of technical assistance and training will be made available?
Programmatic development and management, legal, training and other technical assistance will be provided.
Do the Clinics provide civil legal assistance regarding issues affecting victims of crime, such as divorce, custody and immigration?
The primary purpose of the RISE Project is provision of legal assistance to assert and seek enforcement of rights in a criminal case. If a client has collateral civil legal needs related to their victimization and provision of legal services on those issues is necessary to aid their asserting or seeking enforcement of their rights in a criminal case, such services may be provided.
Is the RISE Project being evaluated?
Yes. Clinics will collect and provide data that will be used to evaluate the efficacy and impact of legal services provided.
Who provides technical assistance and training on rights enforcement?
NCVLI is the dedicated technical assistance and training provider for the life of the RISE Project.
If I am not part of a clinic, am I eligible to receive training and technical assistance?
Yes. While the focus of NCVLI’s efforts under RISE will be working directly with each Clinic, the vision of RISE is to grow the capacity of the nation. If you would like to request training or technical assistance on rights enforcement please submit an online request.
Is there an income threshold for assistance?
No. There is no income threshold and no income eligibility requirements are used.
Do the Clinics charge clients for legal services?
RISE Clinics Respond to COVID-19
We spoke with Victims’ Rights Clinics involved in our Rights in Systems Enforced (RISE) Project about how they are protecting victims’ rights during COVID-19. Here are a few of their stories.
Right to Privacy: Just after a statewide stay-home order was issued, the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence’s Survivor Law Clinic (Michigan Clinic) represented two victims as they navigated virtual hearings in the criminal cases against their offenders. The Michigan Clinic worked to ensure that the victims’ privacy was guarded to the greatest extent possible in this new platform. NCVLI and the Michigan Clinic also joined forces to encourage all courts in Michigan to actively consider victims’ rights if they adopt virtual proceedings.
Right to be Present; Right to Dignity, Fairness, and Respect: Despite COVID-19, the defense filed a motion requesting an in-person hearing in a homicide case. The co-victim/survivors, who were the elderly family of the deceased, objected to the in-person hearing due to health and safety concerns. Arizona Voice for Crime Victims (Arizona Clinic) objected based on victims’ rights, including the rights to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity; to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse; and to be present at all criminal proceedings. The court denied the request for an in-person hearing, a success for the co-victims.
Right to Reasonable Protection: In a case involving child abuse and murder, the defense sought to modify defendant’s c because of COVID-19. The Arizona Clinic objected on behalf of the victim, citing victims’ rights and noting the jail’s protocols to handle the virus
In a case involving sexual assault of a minor, the Defendant filed a Motion to Modify Conditions of Release arguing he should be released due to COVID-19. AVCV filed an objection on behalf of the victim opposing his release, along with the State filing a response, and attended an oral argument. The Court denied the Defendant’s Motion to Modify and he remained in custody.
This project is supported by Grant Nos. 2018-V3-GX-K018 and 2020-V3-GX-K022, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.