Office of victim services began in 1966 as the Crime Victims Compensation Board. This independent state was established as an outcome of the public’s cry for help due to the horrendous crime acts. The agency mainly deals with the victims of these crimes. The establishment of this agency mainly took place after the murder of a young man in a subway. The deceased left behind a child who was fifteen months old and a widow (OVS, 2013). The agency’s main concern is to provide many helpful services including compensation services to the innocent crime victims.
As established, the Office of Victim Services helps innocent crime victims. They include victims of murder, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking, violence and other crimes against humans. The organization handles these cases immediately they receive information regarding the cases. The information may be delivered to the agency through the police department, community, the victims or any other avenues. The agency provides various services to its victims. The agency offers services until justice is served while at other time its goes beyond justice. The agency is popularly known for its compensation services. It provides financial relieves to innocent crime victims. This includes crime related expenses that are unreinmbursed. The other service offered is the direct services to victims of crime. It supports the administration of VOCA (Victims of Crime Act). The agency offers funds to assist witnesses and victims. It also offers assistance to programs that assist victims of crime. For example, twenty-three programs have been funded through its project of assisting community-based initiatives since 1981 (OVS, 2013).
The agency offers medical services of assistance. This includes FRE (forensic rape examination) and direct reimbursement programs. The agency provides assistance to rape victims by providing the privacy they need. This is especially so when the victim foregoes the option of using private health insurance. It also applies to those who do not have the option of using private health insurance. The agency advocates for the rights and benefits of these innocent victims of crime. Through this activity, the agency has orchestrated the formation and the enacting of laws that protect the rights of these victims but it also extended these rights. The agency engages in the facilitation of coordination and communication with local agencies in the government, advocacy organizations, states and the federal in order to expand the interest and rights of these victims. Outreach and education almost comes naturally to this agency. There are more victims helped if the victims and the communities know the steps to follow in order to get help. Moreover, it is even easier to help victims if they know what to do before help arrives. For example, educating the people regarding what to do or not to do when raped or the legal process to follow after one realizes that he/she is a victim of crimes are part of the outreach program.
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The agency does not work alone. It works with other agencies such as Office of the Victim Advocate, the federal department and the justice department in order to ensure that the legal process is followed as the victim waits for justice. There are scenarios where it works with medical institutions when it comes to providing medical or health care for these victims. As stated, earlier the agency offers various forms of services to the victims. In the year 207-2008, the organization dealt with 13,602 claims. It disbursed $27,427,450 in compensation. This was solely in New York. The three offices provided direct advocacy services on-site. The agency also appropriated $7,500,000 in state funds. There was an increase in the emergency award cap. It moved from $1,500 to $2,500. Initially, the agency required that this award be disbursed in increments of $500 (OVS, 2013). This was a companion to a law that required the HIV testing of some defendants. The issuance of posters that are informative has regularly been distributed to police departments and hospitals. Victim assistance conferences that run statewide are part of the awareness programs this are run on an annual basis (OVA, 2013). These campaigns are attended by over four hundred professionals representing various agencies of criminal justice, crime victims, law enforcement, justice and other disciplines.
The agency does not discriminate against any grounds. It is open to all individuals who are innocent crime victims. It also concentrates on the cases found within the state of New York although it also coordinates with other states incase of the cross-border situations. Their services are available at all times and the communication channels are available at any time. Although there needs to be more agencies as this one as rates of criminal activities are increasing due to globalization, this agency is performing to its maximum.
I mostly received some positive values from completing this assignment. it is satisfying to know that systems do not only handle crime perpetrators, by they also take care of victims of crime. Sometimes it is not enough to see that a criminal has been given a life sentence. Seeing that the victim of the crime has received some physical attention is satisfying too. Nevertheless, there is more to be done especially when it comes to victims who are not legally settled in the state. Ways of encouraging such people to seek help when become victims of criminal acts should be derived in order to ensure that as many crime victims as possible are assisted. Justice should be served t both the criminal and the victim.
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