Governor Cuomo announced $6.5 million in additional funding has been awarded to programs that assist crime victims across the state. The federal funding will support 172 providers administering 226 programs that provide counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance, among other services. In total, victim assistance programs are receiving $43.8 million in federal funding for 2015-16.
“This funding helps ensure that people who are the victims of a crime can receive the support and assistance they need to recover,” said Governor Cuomo. “The organizations that receive this funding provide critically important services in communities across our state, and I am proud that our administration, with the help of our Congressional delegation, is supporting their missions.”
The state Office of Victim Services administers the grant funding for the programs, which are operated by non-profit organizations, hospitals and law enforcement agencies. Victim assistance programs typically receive a modest funding increase during their three-year contracts, but as a result of congressional action, they each received 15 percent more than anticipated in funding.
Governor Cuomo announced the funding as the Office of Victim Services is hosting a three-day conference in Syracuse for professionals from victim assistance programs funded by the agency. More than 400 professionals from across the state are attending the conference, which includes presentations by survivors of crime, workshops and panel discussions with an emphasis on trauma-related services for victims, caregivers and providers. There also will be a screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary on the problematic handling of sexual assault cases on college campuses.
Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “Whether it is providing temporary housing for a domestic violence survivor or counseling for an abused child, these programs provide a critical role in helping crime victims negotiate the road to recovery. As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges crime victims face and the struggle they endure on a daily basis. This funding will further enhance the vital services they depend on as they try to get their lives back on track.”
A complete list of the organizations and agencies that provide services to crime victims in each of the state’s 62 counties can be found here. In 2014, crime victim assistance programs funded by the Office of Victim Services served nearly 265,000 people across New York.
The funding cycle for the $43.8 million in grants aligns with the federal budget year (Oct. 1 through Sept. 30). The majority of the funding comes from the federal Victims of Crime Act and the New York Victim and Witness Assistance Grant Program's Criminal Justice Improvement Account, where all of the funding is the result of fines, fees and surcharges paid by certain offenders convicted in federal or state courts. State funds comprise the remaining 5 percent.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “While we must do all we can to prevent crimes and domestic violence from happening in the first place, we also must do what we can to take care of those who have been victimized. Fortunately, there are organizations across New York that provide invaluable services to those who have been victims of crime and violence. This $6.5 million in federal funding will help make sure these victims have access to legal assistance, counseling and other programs, and I will continue to fight to ensure organizations like these have the resources they need to continue their important work.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said, “No one ever plans to be the victim of a crime. When such tragedy occurs, a helping hand can be absolutely critical to helping survivors to recover and communities to heal. As the original co-author of the Violence Against Women Act and a longtime advocate for those who have fallen victim to crime, I have seen how these services provide a vital lifeline to individuals and families. That’s why I’m so proud to support these critical programs and the lives they transform.”
Congressman Eliot Engel said, “There are few things in life more traumatic than being the victim of a crime. The experience can be harrowing, which is why it’s important for us to make sure those who go through it and are trying to move on do not have to do so alone. Governor Cuomo’s allocation of $6.5 million in federal funds to programs that assist crime victims will help ensure those suffering will receive the support and services they need in order to heal. I applaud the Governor for his efforts in this field.”
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “It is absolutely essential that resources are made available to crime victims. I’m pleased that $2.8 million in federal Victims of Crime grants will help several local, community-focused organizations in Westchester and Rockland provide services that bring peace of mind to victims of crime, including instances of domestic violence and child abuse. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am fighting to increase federal investments that help victims recover from traumatic experiences to strengthen individuals, families, and entire communities.”
Congressman José E. Serrano said, “While we continue efforts to prevent crime, we also need to ensure that crime victims have access to the counseling and legal assistance they need to recover from traumatic experiences. These federal funds will boost victim assistance programs throughout the City, and I am glad that a significant part of these funds are going to the Bronx.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, “New Yorkers stand together, supporting those forced to deal with the trauma of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or other crimes. Millions in new federal funding will go to organizations across the state, including several in NYC, providing critical assistance to the victims of crimes. Services including counseling, crisis intervention, and legal assistance are vital, and enormous credit is due to Governor Cuomo and the Office of Victim Services for the demonstrated commitment to helping vulnerable individuals across New York.”
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, “Many survivors find themselves re-victimized by a lack of adequate services, making it difficult for them to recover. I applaud Governor Cuomo for allocating additional funding for counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance. I’ll continue supporting strong federal funding for crime victims programs so that New Yorkers can benefit from these services.”
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, "I welcome Governor Cuomo's announcement of $6.5 million in federal grants for programs that help victims of crimes heal. The additional federal aid will help victims, their families, and communities recover from the trauma crime inflicts. I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor on this important issue."
Congressman Joe Crowley said, “Unfortunately, as long as there is crime on the streets, there will be victims who need help. I thank Governor Cuomo and the Office of Victim Services for administering these federal dollars to these vital programs. This funding will go a long way in ensuring victim assistance programs have the resources they need to do what they do best: help people.”
Congressman Steve Israel said, “New Yorkers who have been victimized through no fault of their own should not have to worry about access to the resources necessary in their time of need. This additional federal funding will ensure that victim services providers in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties can continue their vital work of supporting victims recovering from these traumatic experiences.”
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Exposure to violence and crime in the home and in the community can leave lasting scars. This infusion of over $3 million in federal funding will go a long way toward helping the agencies working in Western New York to help crime victims heal.”
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney said, “The safety of Hudson Valley victims of crimes – especially women and children - should be a top priority for all lawmakers, and we must continue to do whatever we can to ensure that no woman or child suffers in silence. This new funding will help to make sure that victims have the resources they need to receive access to critical protections.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng said, “This money will provide critical funding to important programs that assist crime victims in Queens and throughout New York State. Thanks to Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of making these resources available to those who are victims of crime.”
Representative Kathleen Rice said, “One of the best ways that we can help victims is by supporting places like the Safe Center LI, where victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse can access the comprehensive services and support they need all in one facility – from health care and counseling to legal assistance and emergency housing. I’m glad that this additional grant funding has been awarded to the Safe Center and many other programs on Long Island and across the state, and I’ll keep working to ensure we do everything we can to support the people on the ground who are there to care for victims in their times of crisis.”
Congressman Lee Zeldin said, “Providing crime victims with access to necessary assistance and counseling is an essential pursuit. I am proud to join with Governor Cuomo to announce that a number of Long Island groups will receive the funding needed to provide critical support for those in need within our community.”
Congressman Dan Donovan said, "Put the victim first. That was my mantra as DA, and it’s why I fought for crime victims programs and the Staten Island Family Justice Center. Victims usually face trauma well after experiencing the initial crime, and they must have resources like those announced today to help them through the recovery process.”
The Office of Victim Services provides a safety net for individuals and/or their family members who have been victimized through no fault of their own and have no other means of assistance. It is a payer of last resort: all other sources of assistance, such as medical insurance and workers compensation, must be exhausted before the agency can pay a victim or their family members for any out-of-pocket losses related to the crime. Last year, the Office of Victim Services provided more than $20 million in compensation to assist crime victims and their families.
For more information about services offered by OVS, including eligibility guidelines and a list of crime victims assistance programs that currently receive funding, visit www.ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.
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