Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Crime Victims Board
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New York State Crime Victims Board partners with American Red Cross to sponsor blood drives in Albany, Buffalo on Wednesday, April 29
Drives sponsored to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 26 – May 2

The New York State Crime Victims Board is partnering with the American Red Cross’ New York-Penn Blood Services Region to sponsor blood drives in Albany and Buffalo on Wednesday, April 29, to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in New York State.

Recognized annually since 1981, Crime Victims Rights’ Week is designed to call attention to the life-changing impact crime has on victims and their loved ones, to highlight services available to assist crime victims and to reinforce the message that victims’ voices need to be heard throughout the criminal justice system. This year, the week will be marked from Sunday, April 26 through Saturday, May 2.

  • The Albany blood drive is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Blood Donation Center on the concourse of the Empire State Plaza (near the Hallmark store).
  • The Buffalo blood drive is schedule for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Main Place Mall, 95 Franklin St.
  • To schedule an appointment at either location, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or www.donatebloodnow.org.

“We wanted to do something tangible for the community while at the same time, call attention to the important issue of crime victims’ rights,” said Tina M. Stanford, chairwoman of the board. “A partnership with the Red Cross seemed natural, given the fact that a core principle of each of our missions is the responsibility to help those who are in need. I’m pleased that we are able to do our part to help ensure that blood supplies throughout Upstate are safe and plentiful.”

Added Kay Schwartz, chief executive officer of the Red Cross’ New York-Penn Region: “The Red Cross is proud to once again partner with the New York State Crime Victims Board. Not only do we want to raise awareness about keeping our communities safe and the need to help those victimized by crime; but we want to stress the importance of a stable, readily available community blood supply to help patients in times of medical emergencies. We couldn’t be prouder of this partnership.”

As of April 8, the blood supply in the Red Cross’ New York-Penn Region, which provides blood products to approximately 100 hospitals throughout upstate New York, is currently sufficient to meet patients’ needs. Only supplies of O-negative blood are classified as low, which means more donations are necessary to prevent a blood emergency, according to the Red Cross.

The theme for this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “25 Years of Rebuilding Lives: Celebrating the Victims of Crime Act.”

The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) established the federal Crime Victims Fund, which is supported through criminal fines, penalties and bond forfeitures and dedicated to funding state victim compensation programs and local victim assistance programs throughout the country.

The state’s Crime Victims Board received nearly $30 million through VOCA during the 2007-08 fiscal year. Funding for the board also comes from the state, generated by fines, mandatory surcharges, and crime victim assistance fees that certain offenders pay after conviction in the state’s courts. For example, an individual convicted of a felony in New York State must pay a $300 mandatory surcharge and a $25 crime victim assistance fee.

The board provided $27 million to crime victims and their families through personal injury and death claims, as well as claims for essential personal property, which reimburse victims for the repair or replacement of items damaged or lost as the result of a crime, such as eyeglasses, cash or clothing. It also awarded grants totaling $29.4 million to nearly 200 victims’ assistance programs across the state in the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Established in 1966, the Crime Victims Board’s mission is to “provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner; to fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community-based programs; and to advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime.”

The board is governed by five members, all of whom are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state Senate. Board members are appointed for seven-year terms. For more information about the Crime Victims Board, eligibility requirements and a list of victim assistance programs throughout New York State, visit www.ovs.ny.gov.