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This week, April 18-24, 2021 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW). This year marks the 40th anniversary of the initiative. The main goal is to shed light on how people are affected by crime and the interventions required to help them.
The history behind NCVRW
In 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) was established as an annual event for people to renew their commitment to serving all victims of crime. It’s dedicated time to honor those who have overcome difficult challenges following a crime.
In April each year, the Office for Victims of Crime (part of the U.S. Department of Justice) leads organizations and communities throughout the country in their annual observances of NCVRW. The intent is to provide victims with a platform to share their grievances and access services that enable them to navigate the criminal justice system. For mental health clinicians, this is a moment to reflect on the psychological impact that crime might have on your immigration clients and implement the necessary interventions.
U visas for victims of crime
As an immigration evaluation therapist, you may see clients who have been a victim of a crime and are in the process of applying for a U Visa. This type of visa is intended for victims of serious crimes who assist law enforcement or government officials with the relevant investigations. In addition, these clients must demonstrate that they have suffered physical or psychological harm as a result of the crime.
Supporting U Visa applicants as an immigration evaluation therapist
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final determination of who will receive a U visa. However, law enforcement, medical professionals, and mental health clinicians provide information to the USCIS that help them make that determination.
As an immigration evaluation therapist, you might play a critical role in helping these victims receive a U Visa. When completing an evaluation for an immigrant applying for a U visa, your focus will be to document what effects the crime has had on the client and how this has impacted them in their daily life.
The purpose of a U visa is to encourage immigrants to report crimes to law enforcement and also to afford protection for those willing to cooperate. The U visa plays a critical role in enhancing our criminal justice systems and providing victims with the support they need to process trauma, make a difference, and potentially earn an immigration benefit.
If you’re interested in finding out more about U visas, please check out my course Mastering Asylum Evaluations, which includes a section on completing U visas.
I’m Cecilia Racine, and I teach therapists how to help immigrants through my online courses. As a bilingual immigrant myself, I know the unique perspective that these clients are experiencing. I’ve conducted over 500 evaluations and work with dozens of lawyers in various states. Immigrants are my passion, I believe they add to the fabric of our country.
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