Victims Services Enhanced in Yates County

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike announced his office has established a partnership agreement with Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc. to provide a full-time trained “Jessica Gonzales Victim Assistant.” housed at the Public Safety Building in Penn Yan. Funding was secured from a grant obtained by Safe Harbors through the 2009 Recovery Act Stop Violence against Women Program. According to Sheriff Spike community collaborations are necessary to meet his public safety mission and victim advocacy is very important. The purpose of this program is to provide direct services to victims of domestic and dating violence, and related crimes including orders of protection, criminal justice procedures, victims compensation, safety planning, advocacy and counseling, and be a liaison with Sheriff’s Deputies and other police in order to improve services, referrals, and provide necessary information to enhance their safety. “Very few counties in our area have a dedicated Victim Service Specialist housed within the Sheriff’s Office, and Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc. is proud and excited to be collaborating with the Sheriff to provide advocacy and services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at their first point of entry into the criminal justice system,” said Marisa Rube’, Assistant Director for Safe Harbors. Sheriff Spike said that incidents of domestic violence reports that deputies respond to continue to be a concern and have increased from 195 cases in 2007, 212 in 2008, and 281 in 2009. Safe Harbors have assigned Ms. Darcey Sylvester, as the qualified Victims Specialist who started last week. “Darcey will have access to our comprehensive reports because of a confidentiality agreement, and be monitored by the Chief Deputy,” said Sheriff Spike, “If we can enhance services toward breaking the cycle of violence, through training, public policy, technology and providing one on one victim advocacy services, as a county wide law enforcement resource then we are making our best effort for our citizens,” said the Sheriff.

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