Each year, from April 26 to May 2, my office takes part in National Crime Victims Week, but this year is particularly significant for Brooklyn. It was 10 years ago this month that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office created its Victim Services Unit.
My staff often receives inquiries from crime victims about where to go to get help.
My Victim Services Unit is trained to offer support to victims of violent crimes including domestic violence and sex crimes. My staff and I recognize that being a victim or a witness to a crime can be a traumatic and confusing experience. Trained counselors and advocates from my Victim Services Unit are available to meet with victims, their families and witnesses in a safe environment located in the Family Justice Center, which is housed within my office’s headquarters at 350 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn.
Counselors provide: crisis intervention, counseling, safety planning, court escorts, mental and physical health support and referrals, advocacy with other agencies, and assistance to eligible applicants in filing for financial or medical reimbursements through the New York State Crime Victims Board.
The Victim Services Unit also operates six specialized programs which are designed to ensure that all victims receive support and services appropriate to their needs. These programs include:
- The Central Brooklyn Domestic Violence Program, which serves domestic violence victims from the Arab-American, Caribbean, Chinese, South Asian and Latina communities;
- Project Eden, which provides outreach to domestic violence victims from the Orthodox Jewish community;
- Project NYET, which provides outreach to domestic violence victims from the Russian community;
- Barrier Free Justice, which serves domestic violence victims with psychiatric, physical or cognitive disabilities;
- Project Shield, which serves victims of sexual assault who have developmental disabilities;
- The Teen Dating Violence Program, which offers services for young people ages 13 to 20.
Social workers are able to provide services to victims in the following languages – Spanish, French, Creole, Russian, Urdu, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Twi and Ga.
Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For assistance and information call 718-250-3820.
Charles J. Hynes