Assemblywoman Russell: Assembly Legislation Provides Assistance to Crime Victims

April 27, 2009

In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 26-May 2, the Assembly proposed several measures supported by Assemblywoman Russell to aid crime victims and their families.

“Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an important opportunity to focus on the needs of families who are living through the shock and painful aftermath of a crime,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “This package takes the necessary steps to provide assistance to victims and their families through financial compensation, counseling programs and victim advocacy.”

Strengthening advocacy and increasing assistance for victims

“Crime victims often experience trauma and pain, and must heal, both mentally and physically,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “This package includes several bills designed to assist victims to get the help they need and deserve.”

These bills:

  • require local social service agencies to provide victims of sexual abuse or assault information about locally available services to protect such victims from further harm (A.3378); and
  • require training for police officers and child protective services workers to assist them in responding to sexual abuse incidents(A.4629-B).

Easing financial hardships

“For crime victims to suffer any additional financial burden is unconscionable,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “This legislation helps victims get back on their feet by alleviating the further burden of financial expenses.”

The Assembly’s legislation will expand benefits to crime victims by:

  • allowing people who are domestic partners or in significant, long-term relationships with homicide victims to be eligible for compensation from the CVB for actual out-of-pocket losses and counseling expenses (A.4089-A); and
  • enabling crime victims to be reimbursed for transportation costs for the full range of necessary court appearances (A.6532-A).

This year, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week commemorates the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which established the Crime Victims’ Fund and fostered 25 years of progress for victims of crime. The 2009 theme invites us to explore VOCA’s history, its powerful reforms, and its network of support to victims of crime. It also honors the visionaries who made VOCA a reality.

“Crime Victims’ Rights Week also allows us to inform any victims looking for help recovering from a crime that there is help right here. Both Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties have local assistance centers that are available to all those affected by a crime. They also hold events and can always use volunteers for those looking to lend a helping hand.”

See attached list for local assistance centers. A list of local events can be found at:

St. Lawrence County

St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House Crime Victims Project
3 Chapel Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 379-9845

Citizens Against Violent Acts Inc. CAVA Rape Crisis and Counseling Center
20 East Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-2761

Jefferson County

Victim Assistance Center of Jefferson County
120 Arcade Street
Watertown, NY 13601
(315) 782-1823
2nd line: (315) 779-1301