Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Governmental Operations Committee Chair Steve Englebright, and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol today announced the approval of a legislative package aimed at improving treatment and services for crime victims.
"The group of bills approved today ensures that the needs and concerns of crime victims in New York State are adequately addressed by reforming the service delivery system and increasing access to necessary treatments," said Silver. "Of equal importance, through the passage of this legislative package, we are also implementing important precautionary measures aimed at reducing the incidence of violent crimes in our communities."
"National Crime Victims' Rights Week reminds us all to take a moment to think about how we can improve access to services for those who have been victimized," said Englebright. "This legislative package ensures that we are providing victims and their families with the necessary tools to begin to rebuild their lives."
"Through this legislative package we reaffirm our commitment to providing necessary treatment and services crime victims and their families need to recover," said Lentol. "With the approval of this legislative package, we are not only ensuring that laws and support programs are in place to help crime victims, we are also raising public awareness on the rights and needs of those who have been victimized."
Provisions in the package focused on increasing oversight of convicted offenders would:
ensure that all records of parole interviews for sex offenders are transmitted to the Office of Mental Health for review by the civil commitment case review panel before a sex offender is released from prison (A.8917/ Brindisi); and
authorize courts to revoke the firearms license and seize the firearms of those who have been found incapacitated, ordered to treatment, or committed to a mental health facility (A.3081/ Lupardo).
expand eligibility for crime victims' compensation to include domestic partners (A.3592/ Glick);
consolidate the reporting requirements for the New York State Crime Victims' Board and change certain reporting requirements from annually to every two years (A.9025/ Englebright); and
permit courts to direct anti-trust fines to be paid to the New York State Crime Victims' Board to compensate victims for counseling services and out-of-pocket losses (A.9028/ Englebright).
Silver noted that one measure to be considered in the coming weeks would further improve access to needed services for sexual assault victims. The legislation, A.669-C sponsored by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, would reduce the financial hardship of receiving HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment by allowing the Crime Victims' Board to reimburse hospitals and clinics for the full course of treatment.