Contact: Janine Kava or Walt McClure, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Office of Victim Services
(518) 457-8828
janine.kava@dcjs.state.ny.us or walter.mcclure@dcjs.ny.gov         

For immediate release: Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New York State Office of Victim Services, American Red Cross partner to sponsor Albany blood drive marking Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 21 – 27

For the sixth consecutive year, two agencies dedicated to helping those in need who have nowhere else to turn are teaming up to help give the Gift of Life.

The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) and American Red Cross are sponsoring a blood drive in Albany on Wednesday, April 24 to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in New York State.

“Both the Office of Victim Services and the American Red Cross are there for people in times of crisis,” OVS Director Tina M. Stanford said.  “Our blood drives are proactive partnerships that exemplify our shared commitment to help heal and restore peoples’ lives disrupted by no fault of their own.”

“At its heart, the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that is all about neighbor helping neighbor,” said Kay E. Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer, Red Cross Blood Services - New York-Penn Region. “We are so appreciative that the New York State Office of Victim Services has decided to partner with the Red Cross for the sixth year in a row.”

Recognized annually since 1981, Crime Victims Rights’ Week is designed to call attention to the life-changing impact crime has on victims and their loved ones, to highlight services available to assist crime victims and to reinforce the message that victims’ voices need to be heard throughout the criminal justice system.

This year’s drive is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, in Room 148 of the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, 80 S. Swan Street in Albany. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or www.redcrossblood.org.

According to the Red Cross, individuals who are at least 17 years old (16 with parental permission in New York), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements. Identification also is required at the time of donation.

The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) provides a safety net for innocent crime victims who have no other place to turn for help, providing direct compensation for counseling, advocacy services and medical care, for example. OVS also funds a network of 186 community-based victims’ assistance programs across the state that provide direct services to men, women and children who have been victimized.

The agency is a payer of last resort, which means that that all other sources of compensation must have been exhausted before the agency can pay a victim or their family for any “out-of-pocket” losses related to a crime. None of that money comes from taxpayer dollars; all funding for compensation and victims’ assistance programs comes from fines and mandatory surcharges imposed on offenders.

Visit www.ovs.ny.gov for more information.