Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.

Rochester Police Department, Victim Assistance Unit - Comprehensive Crime Victims Program

The Rochester Police Department has been a pioneer in providing victim services to the Rochester community. The department's commitment spans a twenty year period that includes the existence of two civilian units under the department's Family and Victim Services Section. These units are the Family Crisis Intervention Team (FACIT) and the Victim's Assistance Unit.

The FACIT unit provides immediate crisis intervention services to victims. Rochester police contact these counseling specialists on the police radio. Some of the types of calls FACIT responds to at the scene include: domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and neighbor to neighbor abuse.

The Victim Assistance Unit provides follow-up services for victims of domestic violence for twenty years. The unit receives a copy of all of the crime reports which occur within the city of Rochester and provides outreach to victims. Over half of the cases that the unit responds to are victims of domestic violence. Beginning September, 1996, the unit became active in Criminal Court proceedings, and over the past year has three counselors designated to assist in filing for New York State Crime Victims compensation. They will also accompany a victim to court to request an Order of Protection. The counselor often photographs injuries prior to court proceedings.

The unit also has a counselor whose primary function is to review the arrest log of domestic violence offenses from the evening before and make contact with those victims. The counselor offers transportation to those victims who are unable to get to court.

The Rochester Police Department has also developed and implemented a 7-hour required training for all officers that addresses the changes in laws related to domestic violence and work procedures associated with those changes.

The Rochester Victim Assistance and FACIT units operate with an approximate annual budget of $521,614 in funding from the City of Rochester New York State Crime Victims Board. This funding supports the work of seven civilian police personnel, one police sergeant, 17 civilian employees and four volunteers.

CONTACT: Patricia Huntington-Sigel, 150 South Plymouth Avenue, Rochester, NY 14614, Telephone - (716) 428-6630, Fax - (716) 428-7256.

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.