GBLS Receives a 2-year Grant to Provide Civil Legal Services to Crime Victims

GBLS Receives Funding to Provide Free Civil Legal Services for Area Crime Victims

Greater Boston Legal Services has received a two-year sub-grant totaling more than $1,281,000 to provide civil legal services to crime victims residing in Boston and other cities and towns in the greater Boston area.

Victims of crime are often left with significant legal needs beyond those addressed by the criminal justice system. For example, victims of sexual assault may need assistance understanding and advocating for their civil legal rights if the assault occurred in a workplace or college campus. Victims of domestic violence may need civil legal assistance with child custody, divorce, or access to stable housing. Other civil legal needs that may arise in the aftermath of a crime include access to healthcare and other benefits and assistance with issues related to immigration, guardianship, and debt collection.

This funding will increase access to these services for victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse—as well as to victims of non-violent crimes like fraud, financial abuse, or theft. Services are free and accessible to children, elders, non-English speakers, and people with disabilities. Referrals are also made to other social service providers to meet each client’s individual and long-term safety needs.  To learn more or to access services, please visit https://massclavc.org, call 617-371-1234, or visit www.gbls.org.

“We are quite appreciative of the opportunity to provide critical legal assistance to victims of crime,” said GBLS Executive Director Jacquelynne J. Bowman. “We know that many victims or survivors of crime face significant barriers attempting to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a crime. Funding from MOVA enables us to help remove some of those barriers and solidify a path to safety.”

A domestic violence survivor whom GBLS assisted in court to protect her twin girls from their abusive father stated, “I write to show my deep gratitude for…GBLS. I have finally found my voice and you will hear me roar. This is the beginning of what I feel is an obligation to speak out and to speak up for the other women and children who are afraid or do not know where to go for help.”

Funding for the grant comes from the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) and will be administered by the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI).

“Impacts of crime affect every aspect of a victim’s life which can require civil legal remedies to achieve long-term safety and stability,” said Liam Lowney, MOVA’s Executive Director. “This funding bolsters MLAC’s existing network of regional legal aid organizations to provide services to victims in or around their hometown. In addition to civil legal services, victims can also receive referrals to other area providers who can assist with other rehabilitation and recovery needs. We are thrilled to partner with MLAC and MLRI to provide these critical services to better serve crime victims throughout Massachusetts.”

GBLS is part of MLAC’s network of regional and statewide legal assistance programs that will provide coordinated civil legal assistance to victims across Massachusetts.