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New York State Office of Victim Services announces new training opportunities for state-funded victim assistance programs

April 23, 2018 - 2:45pm

Training and Technical Assistance Request Program provides free, customized training to help service providers enhance their operations, better serve crime victims

The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) is piloting a program to connect state-funded victim assistance providers with free training to enhance their operations and better serve victims of crime across New York. The Training and Technical Assistance Request Program will allow service providers to obtain free training tailored to their specific organizational needs that will help them operate more effectively and efficiently.

The Request Program is a resource for the 223 victim assistance programs across the state that are funded by the Office of Victim Services. It connects these programs with experienced trainers and victim service professionals who can design and deliver training that is customized to their organization or agency’s individual needs.

“The non-profit organizations and agencies dedicated to serving the needs of crime victims often operate on budgets that don’t allow them to invest in training designed to strengthen their organization and operations,” Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said. “This Program will provide resources, training and connect them with expertise that will allow them to operate more effectively and better serve victims in their time of need.”

All training and services are provided at no cost to the victim assistance providers and requests are considered on a first come, first served basis. The Office of Victim Services created the pilot program using $140,000 in federal funding, part of a $1.4 million training grant the agency received from the federal Office of Victims of Crime. The agency will evaluate the program after six months to determine its success and whether it should continue.

Victim assistance programs funded by the state – administered by community-based, non-profit organizations, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies – provide direct services to crime victims and their families, including counseling, advocacy and civil legal help, among other assistance. The Request Program will allow those agencies and organizations to access training on topics including creating stronger victim services organizations, cultivating leadership skills, developing better interpersonal skills, increasing efficiency and building productive teams.

Cattaraugus Community Action, Inc. Chief Operating Officer of Services Amy Maitland said, ”The state Office of Victim Services is again ahead of the curve when it comes to helping the non-profit organizations that serve crime victims. For many community-based organizations, there is a tendency to focus all available resources on the services that directly help crime victims, rather than on training that can help us grow internally. The Request Program is a wonderful tool that will help us build our organization and operate in a manner where we effectively reach even more individuals in need of assistance. “

The Office of Victim Services modeled the Training and Technical Assistance Request Program after the federal Office of Victims of Crime TTAC. The New York State program allows victim assistance providers to select training topics and a specific service, such as an in-person training, webinar or one-on-one coaching, from an online catalogue. Providers then submit their request online to the Office of Victim Services, which then connects them with a consultant who devises a training to meet the provider’s needs.

The federal training grant has allowed OVS to strengthen the technical support and training it provides to victim assistance programs over the past two years. For example, the agency hosted a three-day professional development conference last year aimed at helping service providers better assist traditionally underserved victims of crime. In addition, the agency has offered trainings on topics including the psychological toll of trauma, the importance of self-care for advocates and service providers, strategic plan development, and financial literacy to help programs better understand federal and state funding rules and requirements.

The Office of Victim Services provides a safety net for crime victims and/or their family members who have been victimized through no fault of their own and have no other means of assistance. The agency compensates eligible individuals and family members for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, and loss or damage of essential personal property, in addition to other assistance.

Last year, the agency provided roughly $21.3 million in compensation to crime victims and their families. The agency also provides approximately $45.5 million in funding to the 223 victims assistance programs that will benefit from the Training and Technical Assistance Request Program.

Funding for crime victims' compensation and the cost of the agency's day-to-day operations comes entirely from the fines, mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees that certain offenders must pay following conviction in state or federal courts. Those fines and fees also fund nearly all the grants provided to victim assistance programs, which serve approximately 325,000 men, women and children annually.

For more information about services offered by the agency, including eligibility guidelines and a list of victim assistance programs that provide direct help, such as counseling and crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance, visit www.ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.

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