Every year, the lives of millions of Americans are changed as victims of crimes.
Many will require ongoing care and resources. This year we celebrate the strength of survivors and those who provide service to those who have been the victims of crime. April 18th –24th is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to celebrate the progress achieved, raise awareness of victims’ rights and services, and stand with our families, neighbors, friends, and colleagues whose lives have been forever altered by crime.
The Ontario County Victim Assistance program has three positions co-located within the community. We recognize the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department, the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office, and Ontario County Probation as key points within the criminal justice system where crime victims enter the system and we thank these agencies for their continued partnerships. These partnerships allow us immediate access to victims, as well as supporting law enforcement in the work they need to accomplish every day. Case management services are also offered to continue to assist crime victims after a court case is closed. These continued services are available to provide any necessary resources to meet the physical and emotional needs of survivors.
On April 12th we welcomed Juno, our newest team member. Juno is a two year old lab who has been trained as a courthouse facility dog. To help ease the stress and fear of crime victims going through the criminal justice process, Juno will provide companionship to children during forensic interviews, therapy sessions, and legal proceedings, which will allow victims of crime to participate more comfortably in these activities.
We have strengthened our partnerships within the community to best support victims of crime. This year we recognize our community partnerships as we work collaboratively we resolve to reach out, listen, and support victims as they press
forward on a path to recovery. We commit to better support victims by earning and building their trust and by engaging our communities in response efforts. Collaborating with the Ontario County Sherriff’s Department, Canandaigua Police Department, Geneva Police Department, Ontario County Probation, Child Protective Services, the Child Advocacy Center of the Finger Lakes, Family Counseling Services of the Finger Lakes, and Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, the Victim Assistance Program in the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office hosted a virtual training opportunity which focused on the needs of victims of domestic violence. This ongoing collaboration initiative has resulted in a multidisciplinary team to address a more comprehensive and coordinated response for victims.
We have also continued our partnership with the Stop DWI program, as we assist with the Ontario County Memorial Garden. The Stop DWI Memorial Garden is dedicated to the victims of drunk and drugged driving crashes from 1983-present. Each year, sadly, we add names to the Memorial Garden on the Courthouse Lawn to recognize the impact of Drunk or Drugged Driving. The Garden is here only from April 19th – April 23rd, but the impact is everlasting on the families that are affected by the pain, suffering and all too often death of their loved one. The Garden is just one small way to remember that those stakes represent the many people who were the victims of the violent crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Please take a moment to walk thru the Garden and remember that we need to focus on Zero Tolerance and do all that we can to stop the Memorial Garden from growing. Thank you to Dan Bradley from the Wayne Finger Lakes Technical and Career Center for continuing to create the stakes for the Memorial Garden.
These partnerships strengthen our collaboration efforts, as we provide victims with comprehensive victim services while working with survivors to navigate the criminal justice process. For more information, please visit us on the Ontario County Website by clicking here.
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