July 12, 2010 - 12:00pm
Agency replaces Crime Victims Board, mission to assist victims remains the same
Governor David A. Paterson has appointed Tina M. Stanford as director of the New York State Office of Victim Services, which was created last month with the enactment of the Governor’s Public Protection budget bill.
The new office replaces the state’s Crime Victims Board, but the mission remains the same: to provide direct compensation to eligible crime victims and fund a network of victims’ assistance programs across the state. The budget bill eliminated a five-member board that had overseen victims’ compensation in New York State; the move will save the state approximately $300,000 annually in board member salaries and benefits.
A native of Buffalo and a resident of Saratoga Springs, Ms. Stanford had served as chairwoman of the Crime Victims Board since 2007. She was appointed director of the Office of Victim Services late last month, and will serve a three-year term. Her annual salary is $101,600.
As director, Ms. Stanford will be responsible for promulgating rules and regulations that will govern and streamline the way the office awards claims. In the past, staff members investigated claims and board members made final determinations and awards; the director and two staff attorneys are now making those final decisions. The change in governance does not change eligibility requirements or the type of compensation for which crime victims are eligible.
“As chairwoman of the Crime Victims Board for the past three years, Tina Stanford has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to treating crime victims and their families with fairness, dignity and respect,” Governor Paterson said. “I am confident that under her leadership, the new Office of Victim Services will streamline its operations to better serve crime victims and their families.”
Governor Paterson added: “The compensation and assistance the state provides is an important safety net for men, women and children who have been victimized, providing them with services and assistance that can ease the trauma they have suffered and help them begin to rebuild their lives.”
In addition to serving as director of the Office of Victim Services, Ms. Stanford serves on the New York State Domestic Violence Advisory Council, the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking and the Violence Against Women Act Advisory Committee.
Prior to entering state service, Ms. Stanford was an assistant district attorney in Erie County for 14 years. During her tenure as a prosecutor, she worked in the Buffalo City Court, grand jury, domestic violence/sexual assault, felony trial and appeals bureaus. As a trial prosecutor, she worked directly with thousands of crime victims and their family members seeking justice for crimes ranging from larceny to murder. She is a graduate of Fordham University’s honors program and earned her law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.
Funding for crime victims’ compensation and victim assistance programs in New York State is generated by fines, mandatory surcharges, and crime victim assistance fees that certain offenders pay after conviction in either state or federal court.
During the 2008-09 fiscal year, the Crime Victims Board provided more than $27.3 million to crime victims and their families, including payment of medical and funeral expenses, compensation for lost wages and reimbursement for essential personal property. Another $98 million will be shared by a network of 189 victims’ assistance programs over the next three years. Those programs provide services that range from crisis intervention and counseling to legal assistance and transportation.
The Office of Victim Services has offices in Albany, Buffalo and Brooklyn and has 85 full- and part-time employees. Visit www.ovs.ny.gov for more information.