NYPD Adds 157 Advocates to Assist Victims of Crime

img_1472New York, New York —The NYPD and Safe Horizon announced the launch of the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP), placing victim advocates in police precincts across the city. Over the next three years, 157 new crime victim advocates from Safe Horizon, New York’s largest and most comprehensive victim service provider, will be embedded in stationhouses working directly with victims. In the aftermath of crime, a victim’s life can be turned upside down. Victims are often confused, angry, and feel isolated. They may not know what services and resources they can access.

The underlying rationale for the program is that the sooner the NYPD provides a response that addresses many of crime victims’ needs and concerns, the more likely victims will feel safe, recover from the trauma of the crime, regain a sense of control of their lives, and participate in the criminal justice process. By 2018, each command citywide will have a crime advocate. Currently, thirteen precincts in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx are operational, and thirteen more precincts, including six in Queens and two in Staten Island, will be added in November.

“This program is changing the landscape for victims of crime. Victims are our partners during these investigations,” said Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “By adding both crime victim advocates to our commands, we are beginning the healing process for crime victims at the earliest point in their interactions with us. The relationships formed will enable victims to participate in the criminal justice system in a new way, with active support and with a better understanding of the process and increased access to services.”

“No one who has suffered domestic violence, sexual assault or any other crime should feel re-victimized because they can’t get the support they need. That’s why New York City is so committed to approaching this work more proactively and building on Neighborhood Policing. With this comprehensive program, the NYPD leads the nation in providing resources and support for victims of crime,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, honorary co-chair of the Commission on Gender Equity. “Trauma after a crime affects many victims, comes in many forms and left unaddressed, can have devastating consequences. Having trained staff in our precincts will help survivors feel safer and help them rebuild their lives more quickly”

“Safe Horizon is extraordinarily proud to bolster the City’s response to domestic violence and other crimes by placing advocates directly in police precincts,” said Chief Executive Officer of Safe Horizon Ariel Zwang. “Victims of crime can be deeply traumatized by their experiences. Our goal at Safe Horizon is to help victims in their time of greatest need, delivering services that are client-centered and trauma-informed. As a result of this partnership, victims of crime seeking police assistance will have immediate access to advocates who can provide support, advocacy, information, and linkage to other services, promoting victims’ safety and healing. I applaud First Lady Chirlane McCray and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill for recognizing the unique and important role that crime victim advocates play, and for leading the way nationally in developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary response to crime.”

This program builds on a precinct-based domestic violence prevention program that has operated in a handful of precincts and PSAs since the mid-eighties. Now for the first time, the Crime Victim Assistance Program will serve victims of any kind of crime—all over the city.

While many other police departments have a few victim advocates, no other police department in the country has advocates to serve all crime victims in each of their local commands. Another important feature of CVAP is the strong partnership with Safe Horizon, a nonprofit nationally known for its high quality client-centered, trauma-informed approach to serving victims of crime.