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DA Flynn reminds community about resources available to victims during National Crime Victims' Rights Week

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Tue, Apr 10th 2018 10:35 pm
Flynn joined by 3 crime victims who discussed their experiences and assistance they received from Erie County district attorney's office victim/witness bureau
In observance of National Crime Victims' Week (April 8-14), Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced his office will continue to be a leading resource for victims of all crimes.
Flynn was joined by New York State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy, Dr. Roy DeFrancis (larceny victim), Roberta and David Anderson (victims of a hit-and-run driver), as well as staff of the Erie County District attorney's office victim/witness bureau.
The three crime victims shared their experiences with the court process and discussed the services they received through the DA's victim/witness bureau.
National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) aims to raise awareness about issues that affect victims and to remind the public about resources available to those who have been impacted by a crime. NCVRW seeks to expand opportunities for crime victims to share their experiences with others, to connect with services and to receive the necessary support as they move through the criminal justice process. Since 1981, the annual, weeklong campaign has been sponsored by the National Center for Victims of Crime, Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Erie County district attorney's office would like to remind the community of services available to all victims of crime through the victim/witness bureau. The attorney's office is a leading provider of support for crime victims, witnesses and their families. The victim/witness bureau provides support for all victims from low-level offenses to those who have been affected by more serious crimes such as homicides. Its advocates help victims navigate the legal system by explaining what will happen at each step of the prosecution.
The DA's victim/witness bureau assesses the needs of each victim and provides assistance accordingly. The district attorney's office has specially trained staff to help victims of violent felony offenses, vehicular crimes, sexual assaults as well as child victims. Also, advocates provide support to help victims cope with a variety of emotions, concerns and questions they have as a result of the criminal court system.
Services may begin at the hospital or from the time a police report is filed. Services are also available to victims when no arrest has been made. In specific case, compensation may be available.
The DA's victim/witness bureau assisted nearly 3,000 victims in 2017. In addition, the BE-SAFE domestic violence advocacy program served more than 1,500 victims last year.
"In addition to prosecuting offenders, our office will continue to provide support to those affected by crimes committed in Erie County. The victim/witness bureau is a grant-funded program provided by the district attorney's office to provide support for individuals who have suffered trauma or loss associated with being the victim of a crime," Flynn said. "I encourage anyone who has been a victim to contact my office to see what services may be available."
"It is essential that crime victims have the resources and support they need to grieve and recover," Kennedy said. "District Attorney John Flynn has been a strong advocate for the people of Erie County, especially those who are most vulnerable. I'm proud to join him to raise awareness about Crime Victims' Rights Week, and to continue to fight together for critical reforms on behalf of New York's victims."
Flynn said, "Our office is committed to helping to helping victim of all crimes, especially the most vulnerable - the children in our community. I will continue to push for the passage of the criminal portion of the Child Victims Act. I applaud Sen. Kennedy for his leadership on this issue."
All of the victims' services are free and confidential. For more information, call the district attorney's victim/witness bureau at 716-858-4640 or visit www.erie.gov.victimsrights/. For assistance for domestic violence victims through the BA-SAFE victim advocacy program, call 716-858-4630.
One's Rights as a Crime Victim
•One can be helped by victim service programs in the community. The Erie County district attorney's office, local police departments and the New York State Office of Victims Services can direct one to these programs.
•One can get a free copy of the police report.
•One is protected by law from threats or intimidation from the suspect or the suspect's family. The DA's office or local police can explain these laws.
•One has the right to be involved in certain stages of the criminal justice process. Local police departments or the Das office can explain one's role in the criminal justice process, the important steps in the process and how one can get information about those steps.
•The DA's office or local police department can step in if one is having difficulty with one's employer or creditor because of one's cooperation in the prosecution in a criminal case.
•One can be notified of certain steps in the criminal justice process if one provides the DA's office with contact information. Always notify the DA's office of any change in address. One can be notified of the following:
  • Suspect's arrest
  • Suspect's first appearance before a judge
  • Suspect's release while waiting for the next steps in the court process
  • Status of the suspect's prosecution
  • Final outcome of the suspect's case
•One should be contacted by the DA's office to discuss the outcome of the suspect's case if one is the victim of certain felonies.
•One has the right to make a statement at the time of the defendant's sentencing if one is the victim of a felony.
•One has the right to request HIV testing for the convicted defendant if one is the victim of a felony sexual offense.
•One has the right to be notified of the defendant's incarceration status. One can call the division of parole at 1-800-783-6059.
•One has the right to submit a written victim impact statement or make an oral presentation to the Parole Board when the decision on the inmate's release is being considered.
•One should be contacted by the DA's office or probation before sentencing to discuss restitution that can help cover one's out-of-pocket expenses.
•One should be provided with a separate, secure waiting area for court appearances, if possible.
•One's property held for evidence should be returned to one as soon as possible.
•For more detailed information on one's rights as a crime victim, contact the New York State Office of Victim Services at 1-800-247-8035 or visit www.ovs.ny.gov.
All of the victim services are free and confidential. For more information, call the district attorney's victim/witness bureau at 716-858-4640 or visit http://www2.erie.gov/da/index.php?q=victimwitness-bureau. For assistance for domestic violence victims through the BE-SAFE victim advocacy program, call 716-858-4630.

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