The Victim Legal Assistance Network (VLAN)

Empowering victims of crime through a holistic, wraparound approach to meet their legal and life needs.

What VLAN Does

The Victim Legal Assistance Network (VLAN) is an free-to-use, integrated system for crime victims to get the many services they need to obtain justice and rebuild their lives, in one place. Victims are assigned to an attorney and caseworker who will guide them throughout the legal process as well as the process of recovery.

Am I a Crime Victim?

A crime victim is someone who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss as a result of a violent or non-violent crime.

A violent crime is one in which a person uses or threatens to use violent force against another person, for example: murder, sexual assault, burglary, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, mugging, and stalking. Examples of non-violent crimes are property crimes such as theft, arson, and burglary; and fraud crimes such as identity theft and financial scams.

You are still a crime victim even if you did not report the crime to law enforcement. Many victim services will be available to you, but you may have access to additional support services if you do report. Crime victims have rights under federal and state law that detail the rights victims have to be protected, informed about, and involved in of the progress and prosecution of their perpetrator.


Serving all of Cook County and the surrounding suburbs. Services are available in English and Spanish, with free access to interpreters for 200 languages. CTA passes available for appointment. Email Micaela Garrido at for information on trainings, which include:

  • Human trafficking
  • Domestic violence (effects on victims and children-witnesses)
  • Trauma-informed care
  • The physical and psychological effects of trauma
  • Homelessness: Acting as a first responder
  • Elder abuse: Know your rights
  • Housing and consumer fraud topics

Intern or Volunteer

The Legal Aid Society pairs law and undergrad students with staff attorneys and paralegals. Volunteers have opportunities to:

  • Interview clients
  • Prepare pleadings and discovery requests/responses
  • Conduct legal research on actual cases
  • Present cases at Case Acceptance meetings
  • Handling status dates in court (711 license required)
  • Argue uncontested or contested motions in court (711 license required)

If you are interested in volunteering for the Legal Aid Society, please fill out the volunteer form.