April 22, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $20 Million in New State Funding for Victim Assistance Programs

Governor Hochul Announces $20 Million in New State Funding for Victim Assistance Programs

Secured by the Governor and Included in the FY 2025 Enacted Budget, Funding Ensures Continued Availability of Direct Services for Victims and Survivors of Crime Across the State

Governor Hochul Directs 10 State Landmarks to be Illuminated Berry, Navy and Violet Tonight and Issues a Proclamation to Mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Which Concludes on Saturday, April 27

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $20 million in new state funding for victim assistance programs to offset expected reductions in federal Victims of Crime Act funding to New York State. Secured by the Governor and included in the FY 2025 Enacted Budget, this funding will ensure the continued availability of direct services for victims and survivors of crime across the state. Governor Hochul also directed 10 state landmarks to be illuminated berry, navy and violet tonight and issued a proclamation to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in New York State, which concludes on Saturday, April 27.

“As the daughter of a domestic violence advocate, I am dedicated to ensuring that all victims and survivors have the resources and assistance needed to live a more fulfilling life,” Governor Hochul said. “This investment will provide survivors and victims with opportunities to rebuild and have supportive communities around them.”

“Through her actions, Governor Hochul has demonstrated her ongoing commitment to victims and survivors of crime,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “This funding will ensure that individuals can access help and support wherever and whenever they need it, and I thank the victim services professionals who have dedicated their careers providing these essential services.”

This $20 million ensures that the state Office of Victim Services (OVS) can fully fund the final year of its contracts with 239 victim assistance programs; those contracts follow the federal fiscal year and end on Sept. 30, 2025. These programs provide essential services, such as counseling, support groups, case management, emergency shelter, and civil legal help, among other assistance, in communities across the state. Advocates also help individuals file claims with OVS to obtain compensation or reimbursement for expenses directly resulting from the crime.

New York State Office of Victim Services Acting Director and Counsel John Watson said, “Securing this crucial funding in the Budget is a testament to Governor Hochul’s steadfast, unwavering support of victims and survivors, and I thank her for her commitment to the important work done by victim assistance professionals in communities across New York State.”

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “I applaud Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to funding all facets of the criminal justice system and commend my colleagues from the Office of Victim Services for their steadfast advocacy on behalf of all victims and survivors of crime. For our system to be truly just, we must respect and value victims’ rights and see the humanity of everyone who stands before the bar of justice.”

New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, “Thank you, Governor Hochul, for stepping up and letting New Yorkers know the state is committed to ensuring they have supportive services in times of need. Victims of crime, especially domestic and gender-based violence survivors, need these services and supports in their journey towards healing. OPDV remains dedicated in our work with providers to make sure victims and survivors receive services in an environment that is survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive.”

State law requires OVS to issue a competitive request for applications (RFA), which allows any service provider in the state to apply for funding; the next RFA is scheduled to be released in early 2025. The agency will continue to monitor the status of federal Crime Victims Fund to determine how much money will be available through that RFA. VOCA funding comes from fines, fees and surcharges paid by certain individuals convicted in federal court. While the federal “VOCA fix” took effect in July 2021, it will take time for New York and other states to receive additional funding resulting from the fix.

The following state landmarks will be illuminated tonight, Monday, April 22, to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, honor the strength of survivors, and recognize the professionals who have dedicated their careers to helping those harmed by crime.

  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Niagara Falls

The theme of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors.” The theme challenges everyone – individuals, victim assistance professionals, criminal justice practitioners, and health care providers, among others – to be better prepared to support victims and survivors in their communities.

OVS today released a new brochure, Help, Healing and Hope, which aims to answer this year’s theme by detailing its services in trauma-informed, accessible and visually interesting way. The agency also offered a free “How Would You Help? webinar series exclusively for OVS-funded advocates and allied professionals. The final webinar,“How Would You Help? Community Care for Survivors,” is slated for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 24. Previous webinars and other OVS trainings are available on the OVS YouTube page.

Financial assistance administered by OVS provides a critical safety net and helps individuals with medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, in addition to other assistance. New York is the only state in the nation with no cap on medical or counseling costs, which means individuals can receive assistance as long as they need it. While eligibility for compensation or reimbursement is determined by an individual's access to resources, including health insurance, and restitution and civil settlements resulting from the crime, victim assistance programs provide services and support at no cost to anyone who needs them.

OVS Resource Connect allows New Yorkers to easily search for programs by specific concerns or issues they are facing. Visit the Office of Victim Services' website for more information and follow the agency on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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