October 07, 2019

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $267K In Federal Department Of Justice Funding For Livingston County To Keep 20-Year Crime Victim Specialist Program From Ending

Funding From DOJ Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program Will Allow Livingston County District Sheriff’s Office To Maintain Its Victim Specialist, Despite Cut In State Funding

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $267,618 in federal funding for Livingston County. The federal funding was allocated through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program and will be used by the Livingston County District Sheriff’s Office to hire a Victim Specialist position. The senators explained that for over 20 years, Livingston County was able to employ a Crime Victim Specialist because of funding received through the New York State Office of Victim Services. However, that funding expired on the first of this month. Now, with new funding from the DOJ in-hand, Livingston County will be able to retain its Victim Specialist Service, save this program from ending, and ensure that local victims of crime have access to the support system they need and deserve. Schumer and Gillibrand previously wrote to DOJ this July to advocate for Livingston County’s application.

“When it comes to protecting the residents of Livingston County and the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, we must be smart and prepared,” said Senator Schumer. “This crucial federal investment will allow the Livingston County District Sherriff’s Office to retain its victim specialist to properly aid victims of crime. I’m proud of the role I played in securing this funding, without which Livingston County’s 20-year Crime Victim Specialist Program would have ceased. I will always fight to ensure that victims of these traumatic experiences have all of the support they need to recover emotionally, physically and psychologically.”

“For two decades, victims of crimes in Livingston County had the support of a Victim Crime Specialist who helped them navigate the complex legal system, seek justice, and heal emotionally and physically,” said Senator Gillibrand. “However, earlier this month, funding for this critical positon was almost cut. We must do everything we can to support victims of crimes as they seek assistance, which is why I was proud to fight for this funding to maintain the Victim Crime Specialist position at the Livingston County District Sherriff’s Office. I will continue working in the Senate to ensure that our communities get the resources they need.”

Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle said, “We appreciate Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s support for our application.”

Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty, “In a year where an exorbitant amount of state funding is going to defend those accused of crimes, we are very excited and appreciative to receive federal funding to assist the victims of crime.  I commend the grant writing team that worked on this funding source and we look forward to offering this very important service to help victims cope, know their rights and feel supported.”

The senators explained that in 2018 alone, 250 local victims of crime were served by the Victim Specialist in Livingston County. The Specialist helped victims recover from emotional, physical, psychological and financial stress resulting from traumatic incidents. The new Victim Specialist Position, funded by the federal DOJ, will continue to provide these services, and will also provide forensic interview assistance to law enforcement and advocacy for victims, foster open communication between victims and law enforcement, educate victims, identify service resources and facilitate services for victims.

The DOJ’s Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program provides federal funding to municipal, county, state and tribal law enforcement agencies. The program’s mission is to aid law enforcement agencies as they help victims of crime navigate the criminal justice program and recover from their experiences.

A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below.

Dear Attorney General Barr,

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the Livingston County for funding through the FY 2019 Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program. Such funding will enable the Livingston County District Sheriff’s Office to hire retain a Victim Specialist position.

A grant through the New York State Office of Victim Services has funded a Victim Specialist position for more than 20 years. However, as of October 1, 2019, funding for this position will lapse, leaving victims of crimes in Livingston County without a support system. When the program terminates in October, Livingston County will likely become the only County in New York State without a Victim Specialist Program.

In 2018 alone, 250 victims were served by the Victim Specialist in Livingston County. The Specialist helped victims address the emotional, physical, psychological, and financial stress resulting from traumatic incidents. The Victim Specialist position will continue to provide this aid while also providing forensic interview assistance to law enforcement, advocating for victims, fostering open communication between victims and law enforcement, educating victims, identifying service resources, and facilitating services for victims. Providing funding for this position in Livingston County is therefore crucial to continuing these efforts and providing victims with direction and resources. I applaud Livingston County for its foresight, and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.

Sincerely,

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter may be found here and below.

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr,

I write in support of the application submitted by the Livingston County Sherriff’s Office for funding from the Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program through the United States Department of Justice. This funding will be used to fund a Victim Specialist position over a three-year period.

The Livingston County Sherriff’s Office was founded in 1821 and is located in Geneseo, NY. Their team serves over 64,000 residents living in Livingston County and partners with Village Police Departments in all of the Livingston County Townships. In 2017, the Sherriff’s Office received 47,716 calls for service for law enforcement.       

The requested funding will be used to maintain the Victim Specialist position at the Livingston County Sherriff’s Office. The Specialist helps individuals address the emotional, physical, psychological, and financial stress resulting from traumatic incidents. Additionally, the Specialist provides forensic interview assistance to law enforcement, advocates for victims, fosters open communication between victims and law enforcement, educates victims, identifies resources, and facilitates services for victims. The requested funding will be used to fund this critical position over three years.

I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff member, Dominic Sanchez, at (202) 224-4451.

Sincerely,