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Governor Cuomo Encourages Domestic Violence Victims to Register for Life-Saving Alerts

LongIsland.com

Technology that Notifies Victims When Protection Orders are Served Available Upstate, Long Island and Expands to Some NYC Boroughs, More Areas to be Added Early Next Year.

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Albany, NY - October 23, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today encouraged New York’s domestic violence victims to register to receive alerts for when Family Court orders of protection are served through the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Network (SAVIN) system, which instantly notifies victims with information that is crucial to enhancing their safety. SAVIN uses the technology that powers NY-ALERT (www.nyalert.gov) to send notifications of service to domestic violence victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week via text message, e-mail, fax and automated phone call. SAVIN recently expanded to Manhattan and Staten Island with additional boroughs to be added in the coming months. It is available in all counties outside of New York City.

“The time immediately following when an order of protection is served can be the most dangerous for a victim of domestic violence,” Governor Cuomo said. “But when armed with the technology that the SAVIN system provides, victims of domestic violence can receive timely notifications and take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from further harm. I encourage victims to sign up for this service as soon as possible.”

The program serves as an example of how the State can partner with a not-for-profit organization to effectively and efficiently deliver services that will make a difference in people’s lives. The State partnered with the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute to make the SAVIN system available in New York. The Sheriffs’ Association Institute received a $495,000 grant from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance to bring the SAVIN program to New York State and worked in partnership with the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Office of Victim Services, and the New York State Police among others to implement it.

Notifications are currently only available for orders of protection issued by Family Courts outside of New York City. The system is currently being piloted in Family Courts in Manhattan and Staten Island, in cooperation with the New York City Sheriff’s Office. The system is scheduled to be piloted in the remaining three boroughs – Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens – by early next year. The Sheriffs’ Association Institute also is exploring how the system can be expanded to include notification of orders of protection issued by criminal courts.

Individuals can register to receive SAVIN-NY alerts by visiting www.nyalert.gov and clicking on the “Orders of Protection” box on the left menu. When registering with SAVIN-NY, victims also can identify additional individuals to be notified when orders of protection are served, such as advocates, attorneys, friends or family members.

Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike, chairman of the Sheriffs’ Association Institute Board of Directors, said, “Much progress has been made in the past two decades to raise awareness of domestic violence and to ensure that the rights of crime victims and the voices of survivors are heard, listened to and respected throughout the criminal justice system. SAVIN helps expand and protect the rights of victims even further, using technology to provide them and their advocates critical, empowering information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Gwen Wright, executive director of the state’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, said, “I urge all advocates to learn about SAVIN and to encourage their clients to take advantage of this potentially life-saving resource. Domestic violence victims should take advantage of any and all safety measures at their disposal when in a dangerous situation.”

Elizabeth Cronin, director of the state Office of Victim Services, said, “SAVIN is a great resource for advocates who work with domestic violence victims. The system gives them another tool that they can use when creating a safety plan for victims and their children.”

Additional information and frequently asked questions about the SAVIN program can be found at www.savin-ny.org.

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (www.opdv.ny.gov) is tasked with improving the response of state and local communities to domestic violence. OPDV provides guidance to Executive staff on policy and legislation; conducts statewide community outreach and public education programs; and trains professionals on addressing domestic violence in a wide array of disciplines, including child welfare, law enforcement and health care.

The Office of Victim Services (www.ovs.ny.gov) provides a safety net for innocent crime victims who have no other place to turn for help, providing direct compensation for counseling, advocacy services and medical care, for example, at no cost to taxpayers. The agency’s operations are funded by fines, fees and surcharges paid by certain offenders after conviction in state or federal court.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute was formed in 1979 to operate some of the charitable and educational programs that had been administered by the Sheriffs’ Association. The institute provides education and training for sheriffs and their staff; operates the Institute’s Summer Camp for children; and the Sheriffs' Victim Notification Services.