/ April 14, 2021

Crime Victim Assistance Program: A survivor finds support

Elisa sat with a detective at the Bronx precinct where she’d first reported her assault. As she spoke with the detective on the case, she became visibly and increasingly emotional. As her distress escalated, she told the detective she wanted to harm herself.

The detective went straight to Safe Horizon’s Crime Victim Assistance Program advocate stationed in his precinct, and asked her to speak with Elisa quickly. The advocate was able to determine that Elisa was not actively suicidal and did not require emergency medical care. But Elisa did need support urgently, and the advocate encouraged her to share what was on her mind. She told the advocate that her parents were leaving the next day. They had come in from out of town to support her after the attack, but now planned to head home. Elisa still felt vulnerable and unsafe – she couldn’t bear the idea of being left alone.

The advocate listened and helped Elisa talk through her situation. She called Elisa’s parents, and they all spoke together in Spanish about Elisa’s concerns. Her parents decided to postpone their return home so they could continue to support her. The advocate connected Elisa to counseling services, so that she could have support in place when her parents eventually left the city. In Elisa’s time of need, the Crime Victim Assistance Program was there to help.

AT A GLANCE: Crime Victim Assistance Program

• Victim advocates in 77 precincts, 9 Police Service Areas
• Advocates offer:
o Crisis and supportive counseling
o Safety planning
o Advocacy to schools, employers, creditors, and
landlords for accommodations
o Assistance applying for victim compensation o Referrals to individual or group therapy o Referrals to legal and social services

• Over 165,000 people have received support or services
• 93% of victims report feeling safer physically and/or emotionally after receiving Crime Victim Assistance
Program assistance
• 75% of victims served by the Crime Victim Assistance Program are people of color