September 10, 2019 - 11:30am
The state Office of Victim Services proudly joins the nation in recognizing September as National Campus Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM).
The state Office of Victim Services proudly joins the nation in recognizing September as National Campus Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM was approved by Congress in 2008 and encourages a public conversation on preventing violence at colleges and universities across the United States.
Here in New York, OVS provides a safety net for victims of crime and/or their family members, helping eligible individuals with medical and counseling expenses, lost wages and support, transportation to court, relocation expenses, in addition to other assistance. As part of OVS’s mission to provide critical services and support to crime victims, the agency has partnered with the State University of New York for the SUNY’s Got Your Back program – an opportunity for students, faculty and other volunteers to create comfort bags for victims and survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence. The program was launched in 2016 and has continued annually with events at each of SUNY’s 64 campuses. OVS has provided $5 million in federal funding allowing SUNY to supply and distribute the bags of personal care and comfort items to victims seeking help at hospitals, shelters and sexual assault crisis centers.
The OVS partnership with SUNY’s Got Your Back builds on the success of New York’s Enough is Enough law. Championed by Governor Cuomo in 2015, Enough is Enough is the strongest law in the nation to combat sexual assault on college campuses. It requires that all colleges and universities in New York adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines related to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault, to ensure the safety of all students attending colleges in the state.
Last year, the Governor signed legislation that extended the sexual offense evidence collection kit retention period at hospitals from 30 days to 20 years, providing victims with the time and space to heal before deciding whether to contact authorities. If you are a victim of sexual assault, OVS reminds you to seek medical help as soon as possible. Preserving evidence in a proper way preserves your options. OVS also reimburses hospitals for the cost of a sexual assault exam. Victims should never receive a bill.
If you are a member of a SUNY community and have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, information on resources and support is available at the Sexual Assault & Violence Response (SAVR) Resources website.