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New York State Expands Online Tool Connecting Crime Victims With Legal Services (NY)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New York State Expands Online Tool Connecting Crime Victims With Legal Services

"An online web tool created by the state to connect victims of crime with attorneys in New York has expanded to offer services for residents in 26 counties—up from just three when the program started last year.

The service is provided by the state Office of Victim Services, which expects it to be available in each of the state’s counties outside New York City by the end of the year.

“I think it’s exactly what we wanted it to be,” said Elizabeth Cronin, director of OVS.

The website, called New York Crime Victims Legal Help, launched last year as a pilot program in three counties: Erie, Niagara and Genesee. Since then, it’s racked up more than 5,000 unique users, Cronin said, with an expectation that traffic will increase along with the new expansion.

Crime victims from 23 other counties in upstate New York will now be able to connect with attorneys in their area through the site. Those counties include Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton and St. Lawrence.

The website is designed to connect crime victims with eight major categories of civil legal services, ranging from family law to immigration. Those categories are then broken down into more specific issues, like getting custody of a child after a domestic violence incident or helping immigrants with their visa.

Cronin said they’ve tried to make the website as easy as possible for victims to use, which is reflected in its design..."

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