Child & Family Services' Center for Resolution and Justice (CRJ) will receive more than $3.4 million over five years from the state Office of Victim Services for an innovative program providing civil legal assistance to crime victims and the expansion of the New York Crime Victims legal help website. CRJ is partnering with the Center for Elder Law & Justice and Neighborhood Legal Services on the project.
This CRJ program is unique because it provides access to alternative dispute resolution, which can settle matters without trial or traditional legal representation. Staff will assess situations, discuss the goals for resolution and determine how they can be met. The program began serving clients nine months ago and during that time served 518 victims of crime – providing free assistance in the form of mediation, conflict coaching, restorative justice and traditional legal advice and representation. Nearly all of those clients were victims of domestic violence, family violence or elder abuse/neglect.
“For some, justice means an apology or the opportunity to be heard by those who have harmed them,” said Julie Loesch, Esq., Director of CRJ. “For others, justice means the righting a wrong through financial restitution or access to important benefits that may allow them to move forward. For others still, justice means a fresh start and an end to a longstanding conflict. These are the types of outcomes that are so commonly achieved through alternate dispute resolution that just wouldn't be possible with legal representation alone."