Crime Victims Assistance Unit
The Crime Victims Assistance Unit (CVAU) currently has 18 staff members, including: the Director; a Deputy Director; Supervising Crime Victim Advocates, including one who serves as the Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator; Crime Victim Advocates; a Rape Victim Advocate; certified Therapists; an Elder Abuse Coordinator; and a Secretary/Receptionist. In addition, a therapist from the Center for Court Innovation’s Child and Adolescent Witness Support Program is located in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. The unit provides essential support and services to victims of all crimes. CVAU also offers services tailored to homicide survivors, domestic violence survivors, and sexual assault survivors.
Crime victims have multiple needs and must be offered assistance in recovering from the trauma associated with the crime. CVAU addresses the emotional and concrete needs of clients through a combination of supportive counseling and other direct services and referrals.
Services are provided at no cost to the client and no appointment is necessary. Victims and witnesses are usually referred to CVAU by assistant district attorneys. These referrals may take place at any stage of a case, but most frequently occur at the victim’s initial contact with the District Attorney’s Office. CVAU also receives referrals from other sources including the NYPD, hospitals, public assistance centers and other public and private agencies.
Following an initial interview, CVAU formulates a plan that addresses the victim’s needs, and also puts victims and their families in touch with the larger network of city, state and community services. Although some clients need only one appointment, most require numerous contacts and services to address a variety of issues.
The District Attorney’s Crime Victims Assistance Unit made approximately 18,000 service contacts with victims and witnesses during 2006, an increase of 3% over 2005. These services were provided from both the main office on 161st Street and the CVAU satellite office in the north Bronx.
Crime Victims Assistance Unit, Organizational Glossary
Crime Victims Assistance Unit, Your Day In Court
CVAU provides comprehensive services to crime victims. The location of the unit, in the District Attorney's Office on 161st Street in the South Bronx, is generally convenient because of its proximity to the court. But for some crime victims who reside in the northern end of the county, transportation is a problem.
In September 2002, we received a one-year planning grant from the federal government for an innovative project to bring services closer to crime victims in the North Central Bronx. We received additional grants in 2003, 2004 and 2005 which supported the program's implementation. Although federal funding ended in late 2006, this Office continues to work with an Advisory Committee composed of representatives from law enforcement, schools, hospitals, faith-based organizations, local media, local government, youth services, child welfare and community-based organizations to tailor the type of services and their delivery to the needs of the community. The Advisory Committee has developed a referral network linking service providers in the community to clients for those services that cannot be provided by CVAU staff.
In late 2003 the satellite office opened in Community District 12 on White Plains Road, and additional staff were hired in 2004. CVAU staff provide services from this office similar to those offered at the District Attorney's main office. During 2006 staff provided 2,685 services to clients at the satellite office. These clients were victims of crimes such as domestic violence, assault, and elder abuse.
A need for additional space resulted from the program’s expansion. Consequently, in 2005 renovation began on unoccupied third floor space donated rent-free by the City at the building that houses Community Board 12. These renovations are now complete and numerous services are provided daily from the satellite office.