Webster- Continuing his aggressive efforts to strengthen criminal justice and victim services that combat violence against women, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio today joined local law enforcement officials and domestic violence service providers at a news conference at the Webster Town Hall to announce that he has secured a $65,000 state grant to assist with domestic violence prevention in Monroe and Wayne Counties.
“The most effective way to prevent domestic violence is to provide counseling services and legal protections for victims,” said Senator Nozzolio, Chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee. “The Legal Aid Society of Rochester and Victim Resource Center of Wayne County provide these essential services to victims and it is vitally important that we support programs that help individuals protect themselves from these horrific crimes.”
“The services provided to victims of domestic violence by the Legal Aid Society of Rochester and the Victims Resource Center of Wayne County are truly unparalleled. From educational and legal services to counseling and prevention services, these organizations have always demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to ensuring that victims are provided with the support they need and deserve. It is a pleasure for me to be able to provide them with this State funding to assist in these important efforts,” continued Nozzolio.
The funding announced today will be used jointly by the Legal Aid Society of Rochester and the Victims Resource Center of Wayne County to support an attorney to provide outreach, legal clinics and legal services to victims of domestic violence in Wayne and Monroe Counties. Currently, there has been a need in Wayne County for legal representation for victims.
Legal Clinics will be used to provide outreach to the community so that they are aware of the resources available to victims. Clinic topics will focus on dynamics of domestic violence and legal remedies to violence along with other topics designed to foster independence such as obtaining protection from domestic violence, and resolving legal issues including child support, maintenance, custody and visitation. Legal services will include legal counseling and representation in orders of protection, custody, and child support.
Alan Harris, President and CEO of the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, said, “Once again, Senator Nozzolio has demonstrated continued leadership in helping our organization help victims of domestic violence. With Senator Nozzolio’s assistance, we will be able to expand our programs and improve services and support for the victims and survivors of domestic violence.”
Carla Palumbo, Director of the Civil Division for the Legal Aid Society of Rochester said, “We certainly would like to thank Senator Nozzolio for securing this funding to help us support victims of domestic violence. This program has allowed us to collaborate and establish a relationship with the Victims Resource Center of Wayne County in our joint efforts to provide legal services.”
The Legal Aid Society of Rochester (LAS) has been providing legal services to the poor of Monroe County since its incorporation in 1921. Its mission is to provide direct legal services, including advocacy and related human services, to adults and children. Its Domestic Violence Project provides those at risk of domestic violence or violent relationships the tools to understand domestic violence, identify the potential risks and take the legal steps necessary to prevent violence from occurring or continuing. The Legal Aid Society is a locally funded non-for-profit organization.
Carol Lavsey of the Victims Resource Center in Wayne County said, “On behalf of the survivors of domestic violence, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Senator Nozzolio for his efforts and support. Attorney services in Wayne County are badly needed to provide help to victims of domestic violence. These funds are essential to provide legal advocacy to survivors and will help make Wayne County a safer place to live and work.”
This week, the New York State Senate adopted a legislative resolution proclaiming March 6, 2007 as Domestic Violence Awareness Day in the State of New York. Domestic violence is a crime that crosses all ethnic, age, religious and socioeconomic boundaries. Studies have shown that children who witness violence at home display a number of behavioral disturbances including high rates of juvenile delinquency and low self-esteem.
Senator Nozzolio is an outspoken proponent of victims’ rights and has been instrumental in fighting for increased penalties for sex offenders and improved services and support for crime victims. His numerous accomplishments on behalf of victims of sexual assault include the passage of Megan’s Law, the Sexual Assault Reform Act, the Sex Offender Reform Act, the Sex Offender Community Safety Act and the Domestic Violence Prevention and Family Protection Act.
“The men and women that provide support for victims of domestic violence are to be commended for their commitment and it is a pleasure for me to provide them with this important State funding to assist them in their efforts,” continued Nozzolio.
“Raising awareness of domestic violence is necessary to educate citizens on the prevalence of the crime as well as the opportunities available for victim assistance. We need to remember victims of domestic violence, including those whose lives were lost as a result of family violence. In their honor, we renew our vow to protect individuals and children from a crime that undermines the core of a family and destroys the lives around it,” Senator Nozzolio concluded.