Montana Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network (MT VLAN)
Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
What is the Montana Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network (MT VLAN)?
MT VLAN is a statewide civil legal assistance network that provides coordinated, comprehensive, and holistic wrap around services to crime victims around the state of Montana.
Who is eligible for MT VLAN’s Assistance for Crime Victims?
To be eligible for crime victim legal assistance, you must be:
• A victim of a crime (it does not need to be reported to the police)
• A U.S. citizen or eligible alien
What types of crime victims will MT VLAN be able to help?
MT VLAN provides civil legal assistance and supportive services to victims of all types of crime, including:
• Child Abuse
• Financial Crimes/Fraud
• Elder Abuse and Exploitation
• Human Trafficking
• Identity Theft
• School-Based Violence
• Sexual Assault – child or adult victims
• Other crimes on a case by case basis
*MLSA has a separate unit dedicated to serving domestic violence victims.
How does MT VLAN help crime victims?
• Legal advice and representation for crime victims (and adult representatives of child victims)
• Support, information, and referrals to more resources like: food, housing, clothing, counseling, etc.
• Referrals to volunteer attorneys and other service providers
• Self-help materials
• Educational brochures
• Training for community members and other service providers
• Informing victims of their rights
• Advocacy for victims’ rights and safety
• Technical Assistance for service providers
Are there income requirements?
No. There are no income requirements for the Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network. However, MT VLAN has limited resources and cannot help everyone that applies.
How will MT VLAN decide if they can help me?
When making decisions on how to help victims of crime, MT VLAN will consider several factors, such as:
• Threats of safety to the victim
• Seriousness of the crime
• The victim’s ability to get help
• Capacity of MT VLAN staff and volunteers
How much do MT VLAN crime victim services cost?
MT VLAN does not charge any fees for its services to victims of crime. You may have to pay court fees and expenses. MT VLAN will try to help you waive any court fees, if possible.
What type of crime victim issues does MT VLAN not handle?
MT VLAN does not help with auto accidents, personal injury, business-related matters, medical malpractice, or criminal cases. MT VLAN can help enforce victims’ rights in criminal cases.
How can I get help?
You can apply online with Montana Legal Services Association at www.mtlsa.org. After you submit an online application, an MLSA staff member will contact you to schedule an appointment to complete your application.
Apply By Phone
You can also call the MLSA HelpLine at (800) 666-6899 to talk with an MLSA staff member. The HelpLine hours are limited.
If you do qualify for MT VLAN’s help:
• We may schedule you an appointment to speak with an MLSA Advocate.
• We may give you written information about your legal rights.
• We may ask you to send us more information about your case.
• We may refer you to a volunteer attorney or a self-help law clinic.
• Everything you tell MLSA is kept private and confidential.
Where can I find more help?
Montana State Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service
Call (406) 449-6577 for referrals to Montana lawyers.
Montana State Law Library
Call 1-800-710-9827 or go online to www.courts.mt.gov/library for information about all areas of the law, including the Montana Code, legal forms, and the option to ask research questions.
Montana Department of Justice
• Office of Victim Services
• Office of Consumer Protection
Montana Department of Corrections
• Crime Victim Rights