Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski Reaches Out to Tina Stanford Regarding NYS Crime Victims Board Procedures
Posted Jan 08 2010 12:00am
On December 22, 2009, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski composed a letter to the Chairwoman of NYS Crime Victims Board on behalf of all domestic violence victims struggling through the claim process in NYS. After meeting with Mr. Zebrowski, and informing him of the struggles and challenges victims of abuse crimes endure while dealing with the CVB in NYS, and offering him solutions, such as creating a specialized domestic violence unit within the CVB, Mr. Zebrowski reaches out to Tina Stanford and asks for a review of CVB procedures.
Dear Chairwoman Stanford,
I am writing this letter to express some concerns that a constituent has expressed to me regarding the Crime Victims Board and the way it handles domestic violence cases.
In the past few months, I have looked into many different obstacles and roadblocks that victims of domestic violence face; from arrest policies to injury compensation. I have spoken with constituents who have had trouble with the Crime Victims Board claim process. Some victims report that there is a level of insensitivity when dealing with certain cases and one person stated that a CVB staff member was told by a supervisor not to return an inquiring phone call to this claimant regarding their case status. A separate CVB rep also erroneously told a constituent that they would be reimbursed for medical treatment for which they were later denied. I fully understand that these instances may be the exception and not the rule; however, it is also possible that domestic violence cases need to be handled differently than other cases.
Domestic violence incidents are not as clear cut as many other assaults and violent crimes. Domestic violence introduces a variable based on the intimacy of the situation which is difficult to grasp an understand by an outsider. Perhaps the Crime Victims Board could establish specialized procedures or personnel that could be dedicated toward these unique crimes. For instance, my understanding is that the Board requires certain evidence in police reports, hospital records or court proceedings in order to award recourses. While this makes sense for many crimes, victims of domestic violence often have records that do not tell the entire story. These victims may not initially fully report the abuse out of fear or intimidation. Therefore, evidentiary requirements of domestic violence victims should be different than those of an assault.
I would appreciate a review of these procedures and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with a member of your staff.
In closing, I fully understand the budgetary effects on staff and resources in all state agencies. I commend you and the other board members for your diligence in continuing to provide much needed services with diminishing resources.
If I can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.