New York State Victim Assistance Academy (NYSVAA)

New York State Victim Assistance Academy (NYSVAA) New York State Victim Assistance Academy The NYSVAA is an interdisciplinary, academically-based learning experience for crime victim service providers, advocates and allied professionals.

This five day program provides a foundation in the principles and policies of victims' rights work and a comprehensive set of skills and resources for service providers to meet the needs of crime victims in New York State. Why a statewide academy? Over 500 programs provide victim assistance in New York State, from comprehensive agencies to individuals in health care, law enforcement, and criminal justice programs. Changes in technology include automated notification, uses of DNA, and the Internet. Changing demographics drive a need for cultural competence, and new legislation impacts anyone who works with victims of crime. Providers from different professions and experiences need a uniform, comprehensive education in victim services. The U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) piloted the first National Victim Assistance Academy in 1995, the centerpiece of its efforts to train advocates and allied professionals. New York State is one of the first 10 states to receive a grant to develop a state-specific Academy modeled after the National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA). Who should attend? Advocates, survivors, volunteers in shelters and on crisis hotlines, part- or full-time professionals in the field need to understand legal, criminal justice and social service systems. Law enforcement officers, social workers, medical practitioners and other professionals who work with victims learn about victim rights and assistance. The program emphasizes collaboration between systems and improving service to diverse populations. It was designed for people with up to five years of experience in a victim services field. Professionals are able to earn continuing education credits, college credit, and other certifications. Scholarships are also available to cover fees associated with the Academy, which includes the courses, room, board, NYSVAA Manual, and related material. We are leading the way! A statewide Advisory Committee includes representatives from the CHSR at Buffalo State College, NYS Crime Victims Board, NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Office of the NYS Attorney General, NYS Office of Children & Family Services, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, NY State Police, US Attorney's Office, the Victims of Violence Program-YWCA Cortland, the Center for Court Innovation, Catholic Family Center, and New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Operating as usual

SAVE THE DATES: Tuesday May 22 & Wednesday May 23 ALBANY (Location TBA) Creating Partnerships and Policy for Healing & P...
NYSCASA | New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Tuesday May 22 & Wednesday May 23
ALBANY (Location TBA)

Creating Partnerships and Policy for Healing & Prevention

The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) invites rape crisis counselors, violence prevention advocates and educators, and community partners to join each other for a 1.5 day interactive training and discussion on the intersections of policy, oppression, and survivor healing and justice. Presented by NYSCASA staff in collaboration with Jean Fei, Racial Justice Trainer & Consultant and former NY State Victim Assistance Academy Director for NYSCASA. Registration will open in early April, with specific location TBA in Albany. Stay tuned for more information including the daily schedule, venue specifics, and a list of area hotels.

FREE PROGRAM: We continue to build on the momentum from our September Conference: Weaving a World without Violence: Transformative Possibilities!

May 22:
AM - Jean Fei leads an interactive trauma-informed training on transforming oppression, power and privilege, using creative and engaging teaching tools to uncover implicit bias.

PM - Jean and team members of NYSCASA will facilitate an interactive discussion on the role of policy in collectively expanding healing options for survivor justice. A learning collaborative with you, our member experts and community partners!

May 23:
AM - The NYSCASA team will be providing an overview of our policy platform, tools for advocating effectively, and a glimpse into our future policy focus.
PM - Advocate teams will meet with their legislators at the Capitol.

If you have any questions, please contact NYSCASA Senior Director of Collaboration & Training Chrys Ballerano at 518-482-4222 x 308 or [email protected].

NYSCASA | 518.482.4222 |


Si usted ha sido víctima de un asalto sexual, llame a la Línea Directa de Asalto Sexual y Violencia Doméstica del Estado de Nueva York.

Victim Notification | ENDTHEBACKLOG


We are proud to present Navigating Notification: A Guide to Re-engaging Sexual Assault Survivors Affected by the Untested Rape Kit Backlog. This report, generously supported by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, will help communities working to eliminate their backlogs of untested rape kits create survivor-centered, trauma-informed policies and protocols for victim notification.

Since 2010, the Joyful Heart Foundation has made the elimination of the rape kit backlog—hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country—a top priority. As state and local jurisdictions have begun to process their untested rape kits, they are faced with many complex questions about how to re-engage survivors whose kits have languished untested for years or even decades.

Notifying survivors after so many years have passed is a crucial choice point along the journey toward comprehensive rape kit reform. Survivors must be at the heart of these choices. To establish these best-practice recommendations for victim notification, Joyful Heart partnered with researcher Dr. Courtney Ahrens of California State University at Long Beach to bring together the voices of over 90 survivors and criminal justice, medical, academic, clinical and advocacy professionals. These recommendations include who should conduct notification, how it should happen, when it should occur and what resources should be offered.

"As both a survivor of sexual assault and of the rape kit backlog, I am proud to have participated with so many powerful voices for change in service of Navigating Notification," said Natasha Alexenko. "Being notified of the progress of my case after nearly 15 years of waiting for justice is a moment I will carry with me forever. Creating a standard to the practice of survivor notification is a watershed moment for so many of us. Reform is long overdue, and I hope this report helps to bring systemic change to the way survivors are treated in untested rape kit cases."

Today, we are honored to share with you the finished report at:

One of Joyful Heart’s priorities is to draw attention to the need to ensure that survivors are notified about the status of their rape kits, a process referred to as victim notification.


WNY Trauma Coalition Guest Speaker
Grand Rounds Speaker Series #7
Ann Marie Tucker, JD

Polyvictimization: Implications for trauma-informed care

October 8, 2015
8:30 – 10:00 am
Buffalo Psychiatric Center
Butler Rehabilitation Center Auditorium

Ann Marie Tucker, JD is the founding Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. She has been an educator and advocate in the field of child abuse and sexual violence for more than 30 years, playing a key role in the development of multidisciplinary teams, Child Advocacy Centers and Child Fatality Review Teams throughout Western New York. In addition, she founded the Niagara County Family Violence Intervention Project, a coalition that has addressed the co-occurrence of child abuse and domestic violence for 17 years. Ms. Tucker is an adjunct faculty member at the SUNY Buffalo Law School. She also served as Vice President for Foundation and Community Relations at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and as a site reviewer for accreditation of child advocacy centers for the National Children’s Alliance.

August 12, 2015—Join an Online DiscussionAddressing the Legal Needs of Crime VictimsOn August 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. (easter...
Office for Victims of Crime - Web Forum

August 12, 2015—Join an Online Discussion
Addressing the Legal Needs of Crime Victims

On August 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. (eastern time), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will present a Web Forum discussion with Jessica Alas and Meg Garvin. This discussion will cover all legal needs in the wake of crime victimization—civil, administrative, or in the context of criminal proceedings.

Jessica Alas has been an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid in Houston, Texas, since 2009, and is currently the Managing Attorney for the Crime Victims Unit. She also serves as the Project Director for the Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network, which is a demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime. The project's goal is to create a collaborative network of legal service providers who will provide free, wraparound, holistic legal services to crime victims. Prior to joining Lone Star Legal Aid, Ms. Alas was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Montgomery County Women's Center in Conroe, Texas, where she worked to improve access to the civil court system for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault through an assisted pro se program focused on family law issues. Ms. Alas received a juris doctorate from the College of Law at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Meg Garvin, M.A., J.D., is the Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute and a clinical professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School. She is recognized as an expert on victims' rights and has testified before Congress and state legislatures on the current status of victim law. In August 2014, Ms. Garvin was appointed to the Victims Advisory Group of the United States Sentencing Commission. During 2013 and 2014, she served on the Victim Services Subcommittee of the Response to Adult Sexual Assault Crime Panel analyzing the military's response to sexual violence. Ms. Garvin is a board member of SurvJustice, a national nonprofit organization responding to sexual violence on campus, and an advisory board member for the Red Lodge Legal Services Program. Previously, she served as co-chair of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section Victims Committee and as co-chair of the Oregon Attorney General's Crime Victims' Rights Enforcement Task Force. She was also a member of the Legislative & Public Policy Committee of the Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force and on the board of directors for the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Ms. Garvin is the recipient of the 2012 Crime Victims First-Stewart Family Outstanding Community Service Award. She received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Puget Sound, a master of arts degree in communication studies from the University of Iowa, and a juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

Visit the OVC Web Forum now at to submit questions for Ms. Alas and Ms. Garvin, and return on August 12 at 2 p.m. (eastern time) for the live discussion.

The OVC Web Forum is the place for victim service providers and allied professionals to share ideas and recommendations about best practices and programs for helping crime victims. Victims' rights and issues as well as issues for the victim service providers are also topics of interest for this comm…

July 22, 2015—Join an Online DiscussionAddressing Communication Barriers When Serving Crime VictimsOn July 22, 2015 at 2...
How To Participate - OVC Web Forum

July 22, 2015—Join an Online Discussion

Addressing Communication Barriers When Serving Crime Victims

On July 22, 2015 at 2 p.m. (eastern time), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will present a Web Forum discussion with Mary E. Wambach and Laura Zárate. This discussion will highlight the different barriers experienced by service providers when assisting crime victims, including cultural, programmatic, and physical barriers. Topics will include efforts participants can take to identify communication barriers and resources for addressing related obstacles.

Mary Wambach, originally from Rochester, NY, comes from a family of 7 children, several of which are deaf or hard of hearing. Her expertise includes general disability, deafness and hearing loss, developmental delays, and Autism Spectrum Disorder for both children and adults. Shortly after obtaining her degree in psychology, she began work on Deafness and Disability Rights. Skilled at working with people with diverse disabilities and from assorted groups and cultures, she has administered several nonprofit organizations in New York City and Poughkeepsie, NY; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA; and in Texas. Her ability to empower others and foster a stewardship model among agency staff, stakeholders, and boards is the cornerstone of her work.

Laura Zárate is the Founding Executive Director of Arte Sana (Art Heals), which is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model program for underserved survivors of sexual violence. As a Latina victim advocate and bilingual training specialist with 29 years of experience, Ms. Zárate has presented at national and international conferences and reached thousands of victim advocates, allied professionals, and promotoras through workshops held in English and Spanish. For more than a decade, she has led Arte Sana's bilingual training and materials development projects, including the first national Spanish-language victim service Web page, the first Spanish-language Sexual Assault Awareness Month packet, and the Existe Ayuda Toolkit. Ms. Zárate is also cofounder and facilitator of Alianza Latina en contra la Agresión Sexual (ALAS), established in 2004 as the national Latina alliance against sexual violence.


Welcome to OVC's HELP for Victim Service Providers message board. We look forward to your contributions and hope you find involvement in our community an enriching experience. The information on this page will help you understand how the OVC Web Forum works and how you can participate in it. Follow…

May 5, 2015—Join an Online DiscussionBuild Your Own Body of Evidence-Based KnowledgeOn May 5 2015, at 2 p.m. (eastern ti...
Office for Victims of Crime - Web Forum

May 5, 2015—Join an Online Discussion

Build Your Own Body of Evidence-Based Knowledge

On May 5 2015, at 2 p.m. (eastern time), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will present a Web Forum discussion with Dr. Cris Sullivan and Keri Darling on an outcome from the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report of the need for victim services to become more knowledge-based. Discussion will center on why research and forming a knowledge base is important and helps form a basis for strategic and long-range planning.

Dr. Cris M. Sullivan is the Director of the Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and Professor of Ecological/Community Psychology at Michigan State University (MSU). She was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to chair the Michigan Domestic & Sexual Violence Prevention & Treatment Board. She is also Senior Research Advisor to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Dr. Sullivan is internationally recognized for her expertise in evaluating domestic violence and sexual assault programs. In part because she ran an advocacy program herself for over 10 years, she understands many issues facing nonprofit programs and also understands how to safely and respectfully locate and interview survivors over time.

Keri Darling founded and currently serves as the Director/Trainer of DVAS, Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services, which serves Deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deaf-blind women, men, and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In 2001, DVAS was recognized at the Vermont Crime Victim's Rights week awards ceremony, Victims' Voices: Silent No More, for providing exceptional help to service providers with trainings on how to better communicate with and serve deaf victims. DVAS was also recognized by National Deaf Women United in recognition of outstanding services to the Deaf community in Vermont.

Visit the OVC Web Forum now at: to submit questions for Dr. Sullivan and Ms. Darling and return on May 5 at 2 p.m. (eastern time) for the live discussion.

The OVC Web Forum is the place for victim service providers and allied professionals to share ideas and recommendations about best practices and programs for helping crime victims. Victims' rights and issues as well as issues for the victim service providers are also topics of interest for this comm…


Guide to Trauma Consultation in Juvenile and Family Courts Now Available

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has released “Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court.” This OJJDP-funded guide highlights trauma consultation and how it can help juvenile and family courts become more trauma-informed across environment, practice, and policy. The guide outlines a conceptual and basic operational framework for trauma-informed courts, including positioning them as stakeholders in the community. The publication is a living document that will be updated with lessons learned and advances in the field as they develop.

The guide is available here:

National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 19-25, 2015 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) will be observed Apri...
National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 19-25, 2015

National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 19-25, 2015

National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) will be observed April 19-25, 2015. This year's theme—Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims.—emphasizes the role of the entire community, individually and collectively, as we support victims of crime and empower them to direct their own recovery. On Wednesday, April 21, 2015, OVC will host the annual National Crime Victims' Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Each April, OVC helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victim' Rights Week (NCVRW) which will be observed April 19–25, 2015. This year's theme—Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims.—emphasizes the role of the entire community, individually and…



The Western New York Stress Reduction Program, the MMRS Mental Health Subcommittee, the Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team, and the Erie County Department of Mental Health are pleased to announce the following 2-day course:

Advanced Group Crisis Intervention

Dates: Friday April 17th, 2015 & Saturday April 18th, 2015
Time: 8:30am-4:30pm both days
Location: Erie County Emergency Services Training & Operations Center (Fire Training Academy)
3359 Broadway
Cheektowaga, New York 14227

This is an International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) developed curriculum. Advantages of attending are:

• Participants will learn strategies and tactics for complex situations
• Participants will receive a certificate of completion from the ICISF
• Participants will receive continuing education credits from the University of Maryland at Baltimore
• This course is required for persons pursuing the ICISF Certificate of Advanced Training


1300 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY

Opening Hours

Monday 08:30 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:30 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:30 - 17:00
Thursday 08:30 - 17:00
Friday 08:30 - 17:00


(877) 498-9460


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