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Crime Victims Assistance Unit  

 

 
       This painting, done by a former client of the Bronx D.A.’s Crime Victims Assistance Unit, portrays what she experienced when she first came in for counseling because of domestic abuse.   The artwork depicts the mother’s feelings of isolation and emptiness, and the husband/abuser in a dark shadow.  It hangs prominently in the CVAU corridor.

The Crime Victims Assistance Unit (CVAU) provides comprehensive services to any Bronx resident who has been a victim of a crime and anyone who has been a victim of a crime in the borough.

 

Victims and witnesses are generally referred to the Unit by Assistant District Attorneys, however, the CVAU assists anyone, whether or not there’s been a police report, an arrest, or a prosecution and regardless of the time that has passed since the incident occurred.

The CVAU staff includes Crime Victim Advocates, Trauma Therapists, a Domestic Violence Advocate, a Rape Victims Advocate, as well as an Elder Abuse Advocate.  In an effort to be more accessible to victims, CVAU also has a satellite office in the northeast Bronx.

 

 

 

 

 

 
     The Unit provides both concrete and supportive services that include: crisis intervention, advocacy, individual and group therapy for the primary victim as well as family members, and assistance in filing a claim for victim compensation through the NYS Office of Victim Services.  CVAU also helps victims, witnesses and their families navigate their way through the court system, explaining what the process is, and even accompanying clients to court if needed.

Additional services include short and long term emergency housing placement, and transportation when necessary to court appearances.  Even though a criminal case may be over, a client’s contact with CVAU does not have to end. A number of clients have continued to receive services long after the prosecutions of those who were charged.

CVAU is also involved in crime prevention by bringing to the public awareness of issues that affect victims of different types of crime.  CVAU also conducts educational presentations to the community.   The month of October is designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month and CVAU holds two events in recognition – the annual Wellness Day, and a roundtable discussion with various professionals and a survivor entitled, “The Many Faces of Domestic Violence.”  April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, during which National Victims’ Rights Week also takes place. In 2014, CVAU partnered with the Bronx D.A. Community Affairs Unit to sponsor three separate educational forums: “Protecting our Children: Lessons Learned from Sex Offenders;” “Morning Story,” which reflects issues of dating violence; and “The Many Faces of Domestic Violence” which has been repeated, because it is always so well attended.

 

December is a particularly difficult time for crime survivors, especially those who have lost a loved one to murder, CVAU sponsors two events: “Holiday Blues,” a half-day event that validates how the holidays are different after a victimization has occurred, and the annual “Tree of Angels” ceremony, in which homicide survivors hang a decorative angel on a holiday tree to commemorate the life of their loved one.

CVAU provides comprehensive services to crime victims, ranging from information and referrals to individual and group therapy. These services are provided at both the Unit’s three sites on 161st Street, which are in close proximity to the courts, and at the CVAU satellite office in the northeast Bronx.

CVAU saw a total of 2,709 new clients in 2014. CVAU staff made almost 43,000 service contacts with victims and witnesses during 2014.