The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) is here to help you in a number of ways as you, a family member, or friend cope with victimization from a crime. This page is designed to: describe the services OVS can provide both directly and indirectly, educate you on your rights as a victim, and point you to other service providers who may also be able to assist you.
Find Resources Near You
OVS Resource Connect is a concern-based search engine designed to help you find resources provided by OVS-funded Victim Assistance Programs (VAPs) from across New York State. OVS Resource Connect quickly locates crime victim services, resources and information by allowing you to search for resources by concern, category, keyword, and geographic location.
A core mission of OVS is to provide compensation to innocent victims of crime for their out-of-pocket losses associated with the crime. This compensation, which in New York is broad and comprehensive, particularly in the area of long-term medical benefits, provides some financial relief to victims, who often suffer long-term financial loss in addition to the harm caused by the crime itself. For more information on the compensation OVS can provide and to obtain an application for compensation, please review: A Guide to Crime Victim Compensation in New York State, Frequently Asked Questions, and our Claim Application and Instructions.
Victim Assistance Programs
OVS has a very active grants program that supports nearly 200 Victim Assistance Programs across the State. OVS-funded victim services are accessible to citizens of every county in the State. The Victim Assistance Programs funded by OVS that can meet your needs and/or which are located near you can be identified through OVS Resource Connect.
Rights of Crime Victims
New York State has an entire article of law dedicated to serving the interests of crime victims. The Fair Treatment Standards for Crime Victims is contained within Article 23 of the Executive Law. The purpose of that act is to ensure that the State’s criminal justice system has appropriate standards for the treatment of innocent victims of crime. Much of the information contained in Article 23 is explained in OVS’s Rights of Crime Victims in New York State pamphlet which is designed to be an important resource for those who are facing the challenges associated with being a crime victim; it is an excellent source of information on victims’ rights relating to judicial proceedings, victim impact statements, restitution and much more.
Other Government Agencies to Help You
SUNY Sexual Assault & Violence Response Resources (SAVR) is a web-based resource tool hosted by the State University of New York to support victims of sexual assult or interprosnal violence.
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS):
- The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and New York State Sheriff’s Association Victim Hotline – Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE): Through VINE, crime victims can be notified when an offender is released from State prison or Sheriff’s custody. Visit the DOCCS website or your county Sheriff’s website for additional information on the VINE program. For offender information, call toll-free: 1-888-VINE-4-NY or you can register on the VINE website for notification.
- DOCCS also makes a special effort to ensure that victims of crimes are do not become forgotten parties in the criminal justice process. Through its Office of Victim Assistance, DOCCS has procedures in place that allow staff to maintain contact with crime victims and, at their request, keep them apprised of parole interview dates and decisions, and the release dates of the offenders who victimized them.
- Victims of crime have the right to meet face to face with a member of the state’s Parole Board or to submit a written victim impact statement to the Board. For more information about services through the Office of Victim Assistance, please call 800-783-6059 (Monday through Friday during regular business hours).
The City of New York Department of Correction also has a free 24-hour hotline service that provides information about the custody status of inmates of the New York City Department of Correction. Please visit their website or call the City’s VINE at 1-888-846-3469 for more information.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) works with victim assistance professionals, advocates, and law enforcement on a variety of victim issues.
The New York State Department of Health (DOH):
- Rape Crisis Centers (RCCs): The New York State Department of Health funds a rape crisis center (RCC) in every county across the State. These RCCs offer a variety of programs designed to prevent rape and sexual assault and ensure that quality crisis intervention and counseling services, as well as a full range of indicated medical, forensic and support services, are available to victims of rape and sexual assault. See the DOH website for more information, including a Rape Crisis Provider Report which is organized by county and includes contact information.
- Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Programs: As a result of legislation called the Sexual Assault Reform Act which became effective in February 2001, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) developed standards for approving SAFE hospital programs, approving programs that train individual SAFE examiners, and certifying individual SAFE examiners. See the DOH website for further information on the SAFE program. DOH-approved SAFE programs and specifically trained health professionals will ensure that victims of sexual assault are provided with competent, compassionate and prompt care, while providing the most advanced technology associated with DNA and other sexual assault forensic evidence collection and preservation. The SAFE program philosophy is based upon the belief that providing a specialized standard of medical care and evidence collection to victims of sexual assault will support recovery and prevent further injury or illness arising from victimization, and may increase the successful prosecution of sex offenders for victims who choose to report crimes to law enforcement. Although all hospitals with an emergency department are required to provide care to victims of sexual assault, SAFE Centers have additional requirements and provide specialized care. See SAFE versus Non-SAFE Hospital Requirements.
The New York State Police has a Crime Victim Specialist Program, through which victim advocates provide enhanced services to victims in the State’s rural areas. Click Here for a description of the services provided through this program which is funded by the Office of Victim Services.
The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) was created to improve the response of the State and local communities to domestic violence. The OPDV website has a section on “Help for Victims” and also lists NYS Domestic Violence hotlines by county and offers NYS and NYC resources for domestic violence victims, among other things. Please visit their website for complete information.
The US Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides federal funds to support victim compensation and assistance programs across the Nation to promote justice and healing for all victims. OVC also provides training for diverse professionals who work with victims, develops and disseminates publications, supports projects to enhance victims' rights and services, and educates the public about victim issues.
The NYS Department of State’s Address Confidentiality Program can help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking who want to shield their actual address. The cost-free program allows victims to keep their address hidden from their perpetrators by using a substitute address in lieu of their actual home, school or work address. Call (855) 350-4595 or 518-474-0709 for more information.
To learn more about how New Yorkers can take steps to prevent and mitigate identity theft and possibly receive restitution for identity theft-related loses, log on to the New York State Consumer Protection Board’s (CPB) website at NYS Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection. The CPB is the State's top consumer watchdog and "think tank" and the enforcement agency for the Do Not Call law. The CPB’s toll-free Consumer Assistance Hotline (1-800-697-1220) connects consumers with an Agency Consumer Advisor who can provide direct assistance. The CPB’s Consumer Advisors provide direct assistance to more than 4,500 consumers each month saving them more than $1.3 million annually in the form of refunds, rebates, credit, and avoided costs. In addition to the online complaint form, the CPB website is home to important consumer safety information and resources on a variety of issues, including preventing and dealing with identity theft and tips on how to respond when your personal information is compromised.