Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Crime Victims Board/Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
For immediate release: Friday, Nov. 20, 2009
New York State Police Crime Victims Specialists recognized for outstanding advocacy by New York State Crime Victims Board
Award presented at board’s biennial conference
The New York State Police Crime Victims’ Specialist program has been recognized for outstanding service and advocacy on behalf of crime victims and their families across the state by the New York State Crime Victims Board.
The board presented its Special Achievement Award to the State Police during its biennial statewide conference, which was held last month in Buffalo; Troop A Lt. Steven Graap accepted the award on behalf of the State Police.
Nearly 300 advocates, counselors and law enforcement officials attended the three-day conference, which featured 30 different workshops on topics ranging from elder abuse, teen dating violence, helping family members of homicide victims, and working in partnership with state and federal prosecutors. The Crime Victims Board solicited nominations for the award from the network of nearly 200 victims’ assistance programs that it funds across the state.
“On behalf of the Crime Victims Board and its staff, I am honored to recognize our partners at the New York State Police and its team of dedicated crime victims’ specialists for the work they do, day in and day out, to serve victims across the state,” Crime Victims Board Chairwoman Tina M. Stanford said. “These specialists provide vital services to victims – including crisis intervention in the immediate aftermath of a crime, advocacy as the case progresses through the court system and assistance with compensation claims – that allow them to recover and rebuild their lives.”
Added New York State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt: “Through their hard work, crisis intervention, counseling, safety planning and knowledge of community resources, New York State Police Crime Victims Specialists provide the necessary support to reduce the effects of victimization. Congratulations to these individuals, who have made this program so successful, for being honored by the Crime Victims Board with this Special Achievement Award.”
The State Police has crime victims’ specialists assigned to eight of its 11 troop headquarters across the state. The specialists are: Martha LaCorte from Troop A (Batavia), Molly Nichols from Troop B (Ray Brook), Nancy Allison from Troop C (Sidney), Lisa Ann Funke from Troop E (Canandaigua), Lori Anne Wolkoff from Troop F (Middletown), Carol Carlson from Troop G (Loudonville), and Rochelle McDonough from Troop K (Salt Point). The Troop D (Oneida) specialist’s position is currently vacant, but Mary Radford held the post for eight years.
The specialists’ positions have been funded through grants from the Crime Victims Board since 1999 and they serve approximately 2,000 crime victims and their families annually. The board recently awarded another three-year grant totaling $2.25 million to the State Police to continue funding the specialists’ positions; that grant cycle began Oct. 1, 2009, and runs through Sept. 30, 2012.
The State Police Crime Victims’ Specialist program is one of 189 victims’ assistance programs that the Crime Victims Board funds across New York State. Victim assistance programs provide services including crisis intervention and counseling, assistance with filing compensation claims and arranging for legal assistance and transportation. A wide variety of non-profit organizations and government entities – from district attorney’s offices to hospitals – receive funding.
The funding for those programs is provided to New York State through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which mandates that fees, fines and surcharges paid by individuals convicted of federal crimes be used to fund victims’ assistance programs and crime victims’ compensation throughout the country.
This year, the Crime Victims Board distributed $95.5 million in VOCA funds, as well as an additional $1.79 million available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to those 189 programs.
In addition to funding victims’ assistance programs, the Crime Victims Board provides direct compensation to crime victims and their families, including payment of medical and funeral expenses, compensation for lost wages and reimbursement for essential personal property such as eyeglasses.
Innocent victims of crime are eligible to file claims with the board as outlined at www.ovs.ny.gov (click on “Help for Victims”). The crime for which the victim is filing a claim must have been reported to a criminal justice agency and the victim must have cooperated in the investigation and/or prosecution of the case. Awards, however, are not dependent upon conviction.The Crime Victims Board has five members appointed to fill seven-year terms by the Governor with the advice and consent of the state Senate. The board has offices in Albany, Brooklyn and Buffalo.