Assembly Legislation Expands Counseling Services for Family Members of Homicide Victims
June 14, 2012
Albany, New York – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel today announced passage of legislation that would expand eligibility for counseling services from the Office of Victim Services (OVS) to more family members of homicide victims. “In their time of need, we should be helping family members of homicide victims – including guardians, siblings, and step-siblings – receive counseling,” said Silver. “This legislation would better provide for these bereaved and hurting families.” “An inconsistency in the law resulting in family members being denied necessary services after their loved one dies as a result of a crime is beyond regrettable,” said Assemblywoman Schimel, the bill’s sponsor. “I am proud to see this bill pass the Assembly and expanded access to counseling services move one step closer to reality for those in desperate need of these services.” This bill (A.9898/Schimel) would correct an inconsistency in Article 22 of the Executive Law with respect to which relatives of homicide victims are eligible to receive awards for counseling expenses from OVS. It expands the coverage to include guardians, siblings and step-siblings of victims. The bill has been passed by both houses of the state legislature and now awaits approval from Governor Cuomo.