The Advocacy Program is supported with federal Victims of Crime Act funds. This program is staffed with three advocates who work out of the Albany, Buffalo and Brooklyn OVS offices. For many claimants, their first contact with OVS is with the Advocacy Program. It provides emergency assistance, assistance with filing claims and helps those with incomplete claims to complete their applications for compensation. Services are provided to primary and secondary victims via telephone and in-person. Examples of victims served include adult and/or child victims of sexual assault, domestic violence victims, elder abuse victims, survivors of homicide victims, victims of robbery and victims of assault.
Services provided include:
• Emotional support and information
• Referrals to additional services from local programs
• Assistance navigating the criminal justice system, and
• Advocacy for issues related to the crime.
Between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012, the Advocacy Program handled 2,555 new cases including 447 Emergency Awards.