Office of Victims Services offer online information resource

ALBANY — An online resource connecting crime victims with information and free legal assistance is now available in Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley and North Country counties, allowing victims to learn about their rights and connect with resources or legal representation to ensure their interests are represented, according to the state Office of Victims Services.

Fulton, Montgomery, Hamilton, Saratoga and Schoharie are among the counties covered by the program.

The Office of Victim Services provides a safety net for crime victims and/or their family members, helping eligible individuals with medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, in addition to other assistance, all at no cost to taxpayers.

The agency also funds more than 200 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, including counseling, advocacy and legal services, among other help, across the state. For more information, eligibility guidelines and to locate a victim assistance program, visit ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.

Crime victims who live or have a civil legal issue can use the Crime Victims Legal Help–https://crimevictimshelpny.org–with screening tool and online directory to get information and assistance and if necessary, find an attorney. To help ensure that a network of attorneys is available to assist victims, the Office of Victim Services also has provided nearly $16 million in federal funding to 61 victim assistance programs throughout the state, including New York City. The funding has allowed those programs to hire attorneys and other staff to represent victims’ interests as needed.

Using $1.5 million in federal funds secured by the state agency, New York Crime Victims Legal Help initially served Erie, Genesee and Niagara counties and is now available in 23 additional counties in the state. Many victims of crime have legal needs resulting from their victimization — assistance with housing, custody matters, immigration, family court, social services, for example — but are unsure where to turn for help. The user-friendly, online resource makes it easier for those individuals to get the assistance they need.