To make sure survivors are aware of the care and treatment available to help in their recovery, New York State has outlined a Crime Victims Bill of Rights.
We hear you. We believe you. We are here to help and support you.
The Advocate Department offers free and confidential survivor support services to individuals 12 years of age and older who have experienced rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and family violence.
Services are also available to a survivor’s family members and/or significant others.
Since 1983, the Advocate Department has been Erie County’s Rape Crisis Center, as designated by the New York State Department of Health. We are also an approved non-residential Domestic Violence Service Provider in New York.
What Domestic Violence
Can Look Like
Abuse is about power and control and can look like the following:
Inflicting physical pain or injury, or preventing access to medical care or medications. Includes but is not limited to acts such as strangulation, slapping, hair pulling, hitting, stabbing, shooting, spitting, suffocation, punching, or kicking.
Unauthorized use or control of money or assets. This includes attempts to make a person completely dependent on the abuser for money and economic survival.
This can be controlling access to friends, family, school, faith networks, or work, the use of intimidation, threats, and blackmail, or forced isolation (limiting and/or controlling a victim’s contact with loved ones, friends; relocating a victim to a new location where they don’t know anyone or have support; control of a victim’s interactions with people, and any other act that separates a victim from their support network).
Use of physical and/or implied force for the purposes of sexual compliance; unwanted touching; coercion into sexual acts against a victim’s will. In NYS, sexual abuse in all its forms is illegal, including when the victim/perpetrator is married.
The physical, sexual, and/or emotional mistreatment, neglect or financial exploitation of the basic needs of an adult, 60 years of age or older by a spouse, family member, friend or acquaintance in a domestic setting, which results in harm to the elder adult. The elder adult may or may not be physically or mentally impaired. Click the link for more information on Elder Abuse.
A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Acts may include approaching the victim or showing up in places when the victim didn’t want them to be there; making unwanted telephone calls; leaving the victim unwanted messages (text or voice); and watching or following the victim from a distance, or spying on the victim with a listening device, camera, or global positioning system were the most commonly reported stalker tactics by both female and male victims of stalking. (Source: National Center for Victims of Crime,/Stalking Resource Center)
Speaking to a person in a demanding or threatening way. This includes name-calling, intimidation, and demeaning. It also includes constant criticism, belittling someone’s abilities and competency, and other attempts to undermine someone’s self-image and sense of self-worth.
Using privilege (gender/race/ability/sexual orientation/citizenship status), using children as leverage, isolation, any other behaviors to maintain fear, intimidation, and power.
Your Safety Matters
No matter when, know that we’re here for you. Our team of professionals at Crisis Services is trained to help those in need. If you are sexually assaulted, or the victim of domestic/family violence or elder abuse, take these steps to keep yourself safe:
Personal Safety Tips
- Get to a safe place. If you have been sexually assaulted (Rape & Sexual Assault) do not eat, drink, bathe, or change clothes.
- Call us, 24/7 at 716-834-3131.
- Go to the hospital emergency department – our Advocates will respond to all emergency department’s to support survivors by providing crisis intervention, safety planning and support.
- Call the police to report the crime. The police will take you to the hospital if you cannot get a ride or if you do not feel safe getting there.
- If shelter support is needed, contact Child & Family Services at 716-884-6000.
With You Every Step
Trained Advocates are available to assist you in the moment and will come to the hospital to see you. During this visit, your Advocate can help you plan for your safety, and talk with you more about services available to you, including Case Management, Counseling, Emergency Shelter, Orders of Protection, how to file a police report, and/or legal options available.
If you do not go to the emergency room, you can learn more about our support services by calling our 24-Hour hotline and also any additional safety service recommendations below.
Crime Victims Bills of Rights
Victims have the rights to the following:
- A free copy of the police report, even if there was no physical injury.
- Payment waiver of fees for replacing driver’s license, permit, registration and license plates which were lost or stolen as a result of a crime.
- Have law enforcement and the District Attorney inform employers that the criminal case may require work absences.
- Not to be penalized by an employer when appearing as a witness in a criminal proceeding
- File for victim compensation and assistance with the New York State Office of Victim Services
- Be notified of criminal proceedings.
- Freedom from intimidation, threats or harassment.
- Notice of discharge, release or escape of offender from a correctional facility.
Click the link to find the full Crime Victim Bill of Rights.
Our Advocates provide in-person hospital response at the following hospitals:
- Bertrand Chaffee Hospital
- Buffalo General Medical Campus
- DeGraff Memorial Hospital
- Erie County Medical Center (ECMC)
- Kenmore Mercy Hospital
- Mercy Ambulatory Care Center
- Mercy Hospital of Buffalo
- Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital
- Mount St. Mary’s Hospital
- Oishei Children’s Hospital
- Sisters of Charity Hospital
You can call 716-834-3131 to request Case Management services.
- Provide confidential, non-judgmental support via phone or in person. Contact can be a few times or more depending on what services a survivor needs and is eligible for.
- Collaborate with you to create and regularly update a customized, fluid safety plan to ensure your improved safety even when your circumstances may change.
- Educate you on your Survivor’s Rights.
- Explain options regarding filing a police report, pressing charges, orders of protection, securing an attorney, or other legal needs.
- Connect you with the appropriate community resources which can provide emergency shelter and housing, public assistance, increased food security, counseling, and more all geared toward fostering independence, increased stability, empowerment, and resilience in survivors,
- Accompany you to pre-determined appointments, including, but not limited to: police statements, attorney meetings, and family and criminal court proceedings.
- Collaborate with other agencies or health care providers on your behalf, with your consent, to ensure you have the best support and services available to you.
- Help you process feelings and emotions related to your experience.
- Help complete paperwork to access services such as victim financial compensation through NYS Office of Victim Services or housing applications.
The Advocate Department has case managers on-site at Crisis Services, the Town of Tonawanda Police Department, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, the Buffalo Police Headquarters Special Victims Unit, SUNY University at Buffalo, and SUNY Erie Community College. Case Management services are available Monday through Friday. For emergency and after-hour needs, our 24/7 hotline is available at 716-834-3131.
Individual counseling is offered for current or past survivors of:
- Sexual Assault
- Elder Abuse
Confidential counseling is FREE of charge and available to the survivors and/or family members who feel affected by the experience, otherwise known as secondary survivors.
Therapy Services consist of non-clinical, non-diagnostic supportive counseling, and provide a safe space for you to process the traumatic incident and develop coping skills and other ways to manage the impact the trauma of sexual assault or elder abuse on your life. The counselor’s responsibility is to actively listen to and support you. Counseling is available for short or long term needs and can help you explore your options, normalize your feelings, regain control over your life, and aid in your healing process. After an initial discussion about services, the therapist will schedule an intake with you to clarify expectations about therapy and help determine if our program is the best fit for you.
To make sure survivors are aware of the care and treatment available to help in their recovery, New York State has outlined a Sexual Assault Victim Bill of Rights. It includes the right to:
- Consult with a rape crisis or victim assistance organization
- Appropriate health care services at no cost
- Receive updates on their sexual offense evidence kit and the status of their case