The Center for Victim and Human Rights (CVHR) is a nonprofit legal services organization focused on providing legal representation to victims of crime and human rights abuses. Raio Krishnayya, an attorney with a background in domestic violence issues and human rights law, founded the organization on March 24, 2008, to address the gap in victim advocacy in Indianapolis and to provide services to individuals who lack the resources necessary to obtain legal aid.

During the first few years, the majority of the CVHR clientele were victims of violence and human trafficking who needed assistance with immigration issues. The CVHR soon expanded these services by partnering with the Crime Victim Rights Program. Together they continued their immigration legal work and began working on a Human Rights Program focused on asylum and juvenile immigration issues.

The biggest expansion came in 2013 when the CVHR partnered with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and took over its Protective Order Pro Bono Project. In this project, free legal services were offered to victims of domestic violence which included making and enforcing protective orders. The success and reputation of the project allowed the CVHR to offer services to other groups like the Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors, which connects immigrants in Indianapolis to proper legal resources, and to the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force, which connects victims to legal resources to address and prosecute human trafficking crimes.

Since opening, the center’s clientele has expanded from an initial 300 to approximately 800 in 2020. Krishnayya continues to serve as the executive director, and the staff has grown to include two attorneys, a community outreach coordinator, and a case administrator. The CVHR has also partnered with the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (see law schools) through an externship program that trains law students as law clerks during their summers in law school.

Revised April 2024

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