ADVISORY COUNCIL BYLAWS
PREAMBLE. Article 22, § 623(14) empowers the Office of Victim Services to establish an advisory council “to assist in formulation of policies on the problems of crime victims and to provide recommendations to the director to improve the delivery of services to victims by the office.” The Office of Victim Services elects to establish such council in the following manner:
MEMBERSHIP. There is hereby established an Advisory Council on victim issues. The goal shall be to maintain a council of 16 members appointed by the Office, who have demonstrated an active interest in or obtained professional knowledge of the problems, needs and treatment of victims. Additionally, the Office has designated standing memberships for the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault on the Advisory Council. Advisory Council members shall maintain active membership in one of the five regional crime victim service provider’s coalitions.
Membership shall reflect the diversity of the state and its people. In the spirit of diversity, the Office shall endeavor to maintain a significant level of representation of minority populations. The Office shall solicit nominations from the council, coalitions, and other interested parties on a regular basis for new members or to fill vacancies.
Additionally, members of the Legislature or other individuals having a special interest in victim issues may be invited by the Office to participate on the council as non-voting ex-officio members.
The council shall elect a President and Vice-President at the first meeting of each council year.
TERM OF OFFICE. Members of the council shall be appointed, by the Office, for terms of three-years. In the interest of the council, members may serve a limit of one term then have a break in membership to the council for at least one-year before resubmitting an application.
STRUCTURE. The council shall have a President and Vice-President and shall organize itself into five standing committees. The council members working within their regional crime victim service provider coalition shall be assigned committee work at the beginning of each council year. The assignments shall be made by the Office and shall rotate at the beginning of each council year. The five standing committees are:
Compensation & Service Committee
Social Justice Committee
Public Outreach Committee
The Legislative Committee shall study and suggest legislation to the OVS legal staff for consideration by the Office. The committee shall also monitor legislative efforts related to crime victims and keep the council informed of any relevant changes.
The Program Committee shall review, analyze, and report on victims, fiscal, and administrative issues which are common among crime victims programs especially those funded by the New York State Office of Victim Services. The committee shall primarily focus on concerns that directly impact program administration including budgeting, staffing, the grant process, statistical and narrative report forms, monitoring and evaluation and development.
The Compensation & Service Committee shall inform the Office of victims’ unmet needs and advise on possible ways to better serve crime victims in State of New York. The committee shall review and discuss any victim compensation issues, including information from other sources and states and may make recommendations in regard to compensation applications, benefits, and services.
The Social Justice Committee shall study the effects of social and economic oppression on marginalized populations of crime victims and report findings and recommendations to the Office.
The Public Outreach Committee shall notify the Office of efforts to inform crime victims and the general public on victims’ issues. The committee shall also link efforts from across the state and offer planning and implementation information to any victim service provider.
The Office may choose from time-to-time establish ad-hoc groupings or task forces to pursue specific issues. These groups shall report to the council and the Office under the aegis of one of the standing committees.
DUTIES. The council shall have the duty to encourage public understanding of the needs of victims and the status of victims’ rights. The council shall advise the Office in establishing statewide goals and objectives for advancing services to victims and implementing victims’ rights. The council shall have the power to consider any matter relating to the improvement of crime victims’ programs and to advise the Office. The Office shall assist the Council by disseminating information to council members relative to reports and follow-up, and provide members’ access to the VAP Forum to facilitate discussion amongst members and committees between meetings.
Council members shall be an active participant of one of the five regional crime victim service provider coalitions. Council members are responsible for bringing committee work forward at each coalition meeting and are responsible for gathering information from the region and transmitting suggestions and issues back to the council and Office. The Office shall invite representatives from the council to report to the Office during one quarterly meeting with the Office. Council members may attend these meetings at one of the three Office of Victim Services office locations.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Participation on the council by members representing agencies or organizations that may be funded by the Office shall not alone constitute a conflict of interest. No member of the council may use his or her council membership (or title) to advance personal causes or to promote positions not endorsed by the council and the Office. The prohibition shall not be construed to prevent a member from freely speaking as an individual. Employees of the Office shall not serve as a member of the council since there is an inherent conflict of interest.
IMPLEMENTATION. The articles contained herein were adopted by a vote of the Board at its regular meeting held July 29, 1988 and were subsequently amended as necessary. The Office agrees that the annual year of the Advisory Council shall begin in September and end in August.
AMENDMENTS TO PROTOCOL. The Office regularly shall review and amend the Advisory Council protocol as appropriate. Suggested amendments to the protocol may be made by the council and submitted in writing to the Office for consideration. The final determination for amendments to the protocol shall rest with the Office.
October 27, 2011