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How many calls do victims have to make in order to get a response from CVB in NY?

Posted Oct 02 2009 3:07pm

Below is a letter I wrote today addressed to a board member of Crime Victims Board, Joan Cusack, and The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence representative, Heather Haskins...both offices are managed by Governor Paterson in NYS.

June 2009

I am writing today to voice my concerns and frustrations with Crime Victims Board. My claim number is 6***** and is handled by Kathy Davidson. It took me nearly 6 months to even get this claim number, and now I receive requests in the mail, all of which I have answered with my DV advocate, Carla Morris at RFS in Rockland County NY. After speaking with Kathy and other staff members at CVB, I am under the impression that the Governor has been cutting jobs and claims are piling up, with no end in sight. Among those claims is my claim. I am a survivor of brutal domestic violence, I have had no restitution paid to me from my abuser, and I have undergone a major surgery and continuous rehab due to the abuse 2 years ago. I was advised to fill out an application for compensation with hope that I will be able to afford seeing my doctors for treatments I need, currently I lost my job and have been struggling. I was told to keep submitting my medical bills, etc. and I have been doing everything I was told, but haven't gotten far in the process. These situations are complex because I submit my bills, pay most of them up front which is very difficult, with the hope that the state will compensate me, and that has not happened yet--this combined with unemployment becomes stressful and frightening for any victim of violence.

This month I lost my health insurance, and this further complicates matters. I have tried calling Kathy about my claim, no answer yet. It seems that there are some major problems with the way CVB operates, and that is not your fault, but the fault of the state--a state that can supply millions to DV groups and organizations that are unprepared to really help victims, but can't keep staff to work on CVB applications so that victims can be given compensation in a timely manner. I am one of many in this sad situation, and I need information about this, I need someone to address this for all victims. I feel that as a state, our priorities must change, and the way in which we assist victims of DV must change. I also found out that CVB does not separate out DV victims from other victims of crime, and this is shocking in itself. Domestic violence is an area that is in need of some major attention, the way victims are assisted in the US must change, and at minimum, if the state provides these services, they should follow through and actually financially help victims of crime, as that is what CVB is intended for, compensation from the state to an innocent victim of crime.

Thank you for your time today.

Maria Phelps
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