As of June 22, 2010, the Crime Victims Board (CVB) became the Office of Victim Services (OVS). Executive Law §622 created in the Executive department the Office of Victim Services.
Funding for compensation to crime victims comes from a combination of State and Federal monies. The State portion comes from the Criminal Justice Improvement Account (CJIA) which is funded by mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees assessed on certain offenders. The amount of CJIA available to OVS, however, remains dependent on legislative appropriation. The Federal portion of compensation and victim and witness assistance funds comes from the Crime Victims Fund, which was established by the Federal, Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984.
OVS has provided substantial financial relief to victims of crime and their families. This includes paying unreimbursed crime-related expenses, such as medical and funeral expenses, loss of earnings or support, crime scene clean-up, the cost to repair or replace items of essential personal property, reasonable court transportation expenses, counseling expenses, moving expenses and the cost of residing at, or utilizing the services of a domestic violence shelter. Over time, compensation coverage has broadened to include counseling for step-family members, victims of kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment or stalking victims who are not physically injured.
On July 5, 1979, the agency’s role was expanded and designated by the Legislature to be the advocate for crime victims’ rights, needs and interests in New York State. This advocacy role resulted in OVS’s formulation of legislation, subsequently enacted, which not only has protected and extended the rights of crime victims but also expanded the services and assistance available to them.
Since fiscal year 1981-82, OVS (formerly CVB) has been provided with additional funding from the New York State Legislature to award grants to local community-based programs across the State for the purpose of establishing victim/witness service delivery systems. Beginning in fiscal year 1986-87, the agency also received federal VOCA funds for this same purpose. OVS funded 189 local victim service programs in state fiscal year 2011-2012.
This report reflects the Office of Victim Services’ efforts and accomplishments in meeting the needs of crime victims in state fiscal year 2011-12.