October was first declared as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989. A staggering number of Americans experience violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. According to the CDC, “ [a]bout 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact.” Domestic Violence Awareness Month shines light on this issue and provides information to victims as well as the public about tools and resources available.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we spotlight two important tools that help victims of intimate partner violence. 

Family Offense Petition Program / Training 

The Family Offense Petition (FOP) Program is a collaboration between Pro Bono Net and the New York State Unified Court System. The FOP program allows trained advocates and legal aid providers to create  an order of protection petition on behalf of domestic violence survivors. The petition information is then electronically transferred directly into the court’s case -management system. The program is powered by Pro Bono Net’s award-winning LawHelp Interactive document assembly technology. As a result of extensive outreach and training, the court has approved advocate organizations  in all 62 New York State counties, which include legal aid offices, probation agencies, YMCAs, and a team of social workers at a hospital. 

Last month, in partnership with the New York Courts, Pro Bono Net organized a webinar on the program to train over 150 advocates and provide guidance on how organizations can obtain approval from the court to use the program. 

Victim Compensation Online Claim Application Guide & the Victim Compensation Claim Navigator

The Victim Compensation Online Claim Application Guide and the Victim Compensation Claim Navigator is a recently launched tool that ensures that eligible crime victims are successful in submitting their applications for crime victim compensation through the New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) Online Portal. The Victim Compensation Guide offers page-by-page tips and reminders to help victims with the application process. The Navigator was created to help crime victims determine if they are eligible for victim compensation and the type of claim they can apply for.

You can find the Victim Compensation Guide and Navigator on NY Crime Victims Legal Help (crimevictimshelpny.org). The New York Crime Victims Legal Network (CVLN)’s Guide & Navigator was developed by Pro Bono Net, Empire Justice Center, and SUNY Albany Center for Human Services Research.