Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/New York State Crime Victims Board
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov

For immediate release: 
Monday, Sept. 15, 2008

State Crime Victims Board’s website honored by the Center for Digital Government
Board recognized with a 2008 Digital Government Achievement Award

The New York State Crime Victims Board’s website has been recognized for its user-friendly design by the Center for Digital Government, a California-based, national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

The board was one of six government agencies across the nation to receive a 2008 Digital Government Achievement Award in the center’s Government-to-Citizen category. The award was presented last week at the center’s 12th annual awards gala in Hollywood, Calif.

“The Crime Victims Board’s key mission is very clear – to provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner,” Board Chairwoman Tina M. Stanford said. “Our re-designed website helps us meet this mission by providing easy access to information – in both English and Spanish – about our services, claims process and the variety of programs that we fund to assist victims and their families across the state.”

“We are proud of the site and honored that our staff’s vision, brought to fruition in partnership with L&P Media in Troy (N.Y.), has been recognized for excellence by the Center for Digital Government,” Chairwoman Stanford added.

The board launched the re-designed site (www.ovs.ny.gov) in January 2008 with one goal in mind: to better serve victims and victim assistance program professionals. The redesign provides a prominent link on the home page – “Need Help? Don’t Wait, Click Here” – that redirects a visitor to a comprehensive overview of services the board provides. It also features a “Locate a Program” function that provides two ways to search for a victims’ assistance program: by county or by a 5, 10, 25 or 50-mile radius from a particular zip code.

The website’s navigation has been streamlined, with information no more than four mouse clicks away from the home page. In addition, victim assistance program professionals also have access to a secure portion of the website, which allows them to participate in web forums to foster discussion, share information and answer questions.

According to the Center for Digital Government, judges from across the country determined the winners of the Digital Government Achievement Awards, which were given in three other categories: Government-to-Business category; Government-to-Government category; and Government-Internal category. For more information about the awards, visit www.centerdigitalgov.com.

Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president for the Center for Digital Government, said: “Each year, state and local governments continue to make strides toward implementing better access and more efficient web-delivery of public services. This year’s winners represent the best in each category. The Center applauds all the honorees for their diligence and hard work.”

Established in 1966, the five-member Crime Victims Board provided more than $28 million in assistance – including payment of medical and funeral expenses and compensation for lost wages – to crime victims and their families during the state’s 2006-07 fiscal year. It has offices in Albany, Brooklyn and Buffalo. 

In addition to directly compensating victims, the board provided $25.7 million in funding to nearly 200 victim assistance programs across the state in 2006-07. Those grants fund programs offered by local district attorneys’ offices, probation and police departments, hospitals, and non-profit organizations such as YWCAs, rape crisis centers and child advocacy centers. Victim assistance programs provide services that range from crisis intervention and assistance with filing for compensation to counseling and arranging for legal assistance.
             
All told, the board served approximately 230,000 crime victims throughout New York State, from rural Allegany and Schoharie counties to the five boroughs of New York City and everywhere in between during the last fiscal year. Funding for compensation to crime victims comes from a combination of state and federal monies. The state portion comes from the state’s Criminal Justice Improvement Account, which is funded by mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees assessed on certain offenders. For more information about the Crime Victims Board, visit www.ovs.ny.gov.