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New Trainings Now Available to Help Advocates and Providers Better Serve Crime Victims and Their Family Members

April 8, 2019 - 1:30pm

New York joins other states to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

For Immediate Release: 4/8/2019

New Trainings Now Available to Help Advocates and Providers

Better Serve Crime Victims and Their Family Members

New York State Office of Victim Services creates videos with $1.4 million federal training grant

New York joins other states to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Governor Cuomo’s proclamation available here

 

The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) today announced a new series of trainings designed for advocates and other professionals who assist individuals and their families with obtaining services, support and financial assistance in the aftermath of a crime. The 11 videos outline assistance available from OVS and offer detailed instructions for filing claims so eligible individuals can receive help with crime-related expenses, including medical, counseling and moving bills, and funeral and burial costs, among other assistance. The state agency released the videos to nearly 230 victim assistance programs it funds as the state joins the nation in recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 7 – 13).

“Victim assistance professionals are on the front line of helping individuals whose lives have been adversely affected by crime,” Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said. “These videos are part of the agency’s comprehensive effort to support these providers by giving them the tools they need to help more victims throughout the state.”

The agency partnered with the state’s Media Services Center to create the videos using funds from a $1.4 million training grant received from the federal Office for Victims of Crime. The new videos are intended to complement monthly, in-person compensation training by OVS staff and provide professionals with a refresher or tutorial on specific topics. The training series features 11 videos: OVS History; Introduction to the Rules and Process for OVS Claims; Personal Injury Claims; Essential Personal Property Claims; Death Benefit Claims; Domestic Violence Claims; Medical Expense Reimbursement; Lost Earnings, Savings and Support; Child Victims; Reimbursement for Rehabilitation Services; and Claim Application Review.

Over the past three years, the Office of Victim Services has significantly expanded training, technical assistance and professional development opportunities it provides to victim assistance programs, with the goal of building the capacity of those programs so they can better serve crime victims and their families. Since 2016, the agency has trained nearly 3,000 professionals through more than 30 regional, in-person and online trainings on topics ranging from compensation and reimbursement to the psychological toll of trauma, its impact on victims and the professionals who assist them.

Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s leadership, the state has enacted legislation and increased funding to improve and expand access to services and assistance for crime victims and their families. The videos also will be a key resource for new service providers that the Office of Victim Services expects to fund beginning Oct. 1.

Up to $65 million in state and federal funding is available from the agency and last week, OVS received 234 applications from nonprofit organizations, law enforcement agencies and other entities seeking that funding to provide direct services, such as counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy and civil legal assistance. Victim assistance programs currently funded by the agency, as well as any other entity that met the application requirements, were eligible to apply for the funding.

Through the application process, the Office of Victim Services aimed to expand and enhance services by giving existing and new providers the opportunity to propose new solutions for serving victims of crime; developing innovative and comprehensive ways of meeting their needs; reaching underserved populations, such as, but not limited to, the elderly, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants and male victims of sexual assault; and identifying and addressing gaps in services.

Grant awards are scheduled to be announced sometime in June, with contracts between the Office of Victim Services and successful grantees beginning Oct. 1, 2019. Funding will be provided for three years, with an optional two-year renewal.

This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.” Each year in April, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime leads communities in observances of NCVRW. Governor Cuomo has also proclaimed this week as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in New York State. 

The Office of Victim Services provides a safety net for crime victims and/or their family members, assisting eligible individuals for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, in addition to other assistance, all at no cost to taxpayers. In 2018, the agency provided nearly $22 million in assistance on claims awarded last year and in prior years. New York is the only state in the nation with no cap on medical or counseling expenses, which means eligible victims can receive help as long as it is necessary.

The agency currently funds 228 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, including counseling, advocacy and legal services, across the state. For more information, eligibility guidelines and to locate a victim assistance program, visit www.ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.

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