Our Court Advocates offer a range of services to crime victims and their families. The program is partially funded by the NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS) and provides help in recovering from victimization by offering these services:
- Crisis intervention counseling in person or via telephone;
- Advocacy with criminal justice and law enforcement agencies;
- Assistance in filing claims with the NYS Office of Victim Services, including requests for emergency awards;
- Referral to public and private sources for additional help, such as public assistance, counseling, emergency shelter.
In the past, the crime victim has often felt lost in the criminal justice process. Court advocates attempt to ease the victim's fears and confusion about these procedures by defining and explaining them, from initial reporting through police investigation, grand jury, and court appearances. Through our growing network of criminal justice and human service providers, advocates are able to reach out to victims who may not otherwise know of our services.
Often, additional support is needed by crime victims and their families. Financial assistance is available, in many cases, through the NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS). OVS can provide compensation for lost wages, medical expenditures (including counseling), loss of certain property and funeral expenses, when no other means of payment (for example, insurance) is available to them. In certain cases, OVS can also pay for stays at battered women's shelters and reimburse claimants for moving expenses incurred as the result of a crime. In certain cases, emergency funds are often available. Our advocates act as a referral source for OVS claims, helping our clients with the initial paperwork and explaining the procedures of the Office of Victim Services.
The Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center maintains an extensive network of referral resources for its clients, some of whom may not be aware that the financial burden of crime victimization need not fall upon them or their families. This network can help crime victims locate many immediate and long-term necessary services such as counseling, crisis intervention, social services agencies, shelter and housing, medical assistance, legal services, domestic violence specialists, food pantries, substance abuse treatment and much more, while simultaneously assisting clients in filing compensation claims which may pay for these services.