Episode 11: Safe Horizon
This week on the You Matter! podcast, Wanda Lucibello and Saheli Kothari visit with Karen and Sabah to speak about Safe Horizon, its Crime Victim Assistance Program, and the resources it provides to the community.
Wanda Lucibello (above) oversees the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) at Safe Horizon. CVAP has placed victim advocates in each of the 77 NYPD precincts and 9 Police Service Areas (PSAs) covering public housing. One advocate specializes in working with victims of domestic violence; the other serves victims of all crimes.
Prior to joining Safe Horizon, Lubicello was an Assistant District Attorney at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. She was the Chief of the Special Victims Division, which was comprised of the Domestic Violence Bureau, the Victim Services Unit and the Elder Abuse Bureau. She was instrumental in the launch of New York State’s first Family Justice Center in Brooklyn in 2005; the development of the Brooklyn Early Victim Engagement (EVE) program; and the management of the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative.
Lucibello was an Adjunct Professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City from 2012-2018
Intro Voices [00:00:05] Where do I go? It only happened once. I think I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me?
Sabah Fatima [00:00:31] This is “You Matter”, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Public Safety.
Karen Ortman [00:00:38] Hi everyone and welcome back to You Matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire, and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion, and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I am your co-host Karen Ortman, Assistant Vice President of Field Operations at the Department of Public Safety and a retired law enforcement professional.
Sabah Fatima [00:01:00] And I am Sabah Fatima, a pre med graduate student here at NYU’s College of Global Public Health. If any information presented today is triggering or disturbing please feel free to contact the Wellness Exchange at 212 443 9999.
Karen Ortman [00:01:16] Today we introduce Wanda Lucibello, Esquire Associate Vice President of the Crime Victim Assistance Program at Safe Horizon and Saheli Kothari, manager at Safe Horizon. Wanda and Saheli, thank you so much for joining us today. Wanda, let's begin by talking about Safe Horizon and the service that it provides to New York City residents, including our NYU community.
Wanda Lucibello [00:01:39] Thank you so much Karen and thank you so much Sabah, it's great to be here this morning. So just to begin, Safe Horizon is the largest victim advocacy organization in the United States. So it's the largest not for profit victim advocacy organization and under the umbrella of Safe Horizon, is a citywide hotline—domestic violence hotline—and the number incidentally for the hotline is 1 800 621 HOPE. And I mention that because a lot of calls come through the hotline and through the hotline, referrals are made to a variety of Safe Horizon supports and services throughout the city of New York.
Wanda Lucibello [00:02:35] So for example, Safe Horizon has a presence in every courthouse in New York City— in the criminal court and in the family court, except for Manhattan, which is just in the family court. But there is a Family Justice Center, which is a co-located service delivery model in every borough in New York City, that's run in partnership with The New York City Commission to end gender based violence. And Safe Horizon has a presence in each family justice center and in each child advocacy center in the city of New York
Wanda Lucibello [00:03:17] And among the services that Safe Horizon provides is support and counselling through their community programs, services and support through the court programs, and through the family court programs. So it's really a hub in every borough if you will through which people can access support and services. And one of the most recent developments in Safe Horizon is the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which is a partnership with the New York City Police Department.
Karen Ortman [00:03:54] So before we get into the Crime Victim Assistance Program, you mentioned that this is the largest organization— or not for profit organization in the United States that caters to victims, correct? Is it exclusive to New York City?
Wanda Lucibello [00:04:12] It is exclusive to New York City. However, I will mention that we do occasionally get calls from outside New York City, particularly when it involves providing shelter for someone for whom it might not be safe to be in a New York City shelter.
Wanda Lucibello [00:04:32] So we coordinate with other coalitions and entities both around the city, around the state, and even around the United States.
Karen Ortman [00:04:40] That's great. So if somebody is seeking shelter and they are a New York City resident and it's not safe to be in New York City, they can be directed to another counterpart of yours somewhere outside of New York and obtain shelter?
Wanda Lucibello [00:04:57] Yes.
Karen Ortman [00:05:03] That's great. You mentioned that Safe Horizon is in family court and in criminal court. So what does that look like?
Wanda Lucibello [00:05:10] So for example, it might look like a victim who, for example, needs restitution. So say someone has been arrested, who has caused property damage—broken a phone that that they own or broken a television set. And that case is in court because someone's been arrested and the victim in that case needs the help and support through that process.
Karen Ortman [00:05:39] So this is a service for all victims?
Wanda Lucibello [00:05:41] Yes absolutely.
Karen Ortman [00:05:44] OK. That's great.
Wanda Lucibello [00:05:46] And also, I didn't mention that Safe Horizon also has legal assistance programs for domestic violence victims and for people who need help with immigration, who have been victims of crime—specifically for certain visas that they may be eligible for. So that's also a service Safe Horizon provides.
Karen Ortman [00:06:07] Thank you for mentioning that. So how would anybody, let alone a member of the NYU community, access those legal services that you speak of?
Wanda Lucibello [00:06:16] So there are a variety of ways, one of which would be the Crime Victim Assistance Program, since we are now in every precinct in New York City. Or for example, Karen, if someone had a case pending against someone in criminal court, they could show up in the courthouse and go to Safe Horizon's offices, for example, in Brooklyn— in the courthouse itself —and they could meet with a case manager there.
Karen Ortman [00:06:43] And how would they know that that defendant's case is pending in court that particular day.
Wanda Lucibello [00:06:49] So that's a really good question because as we know, the court system in New York City can be very, very confusing. I mean, it can be, you know, sort of a labyrinth, if you will, of different ways of accessing services. And so the best way would be to, for example, through a crime victim assistance program advocate, that advocate can connect and support a person over the phone with the location of where the case is pending and even connect them with, for example, an assistant district attorney who would be able to tell them when the case is next on in court. And you know, together, the Crime Victim Assistance Program is a bridge, really to connect people with a variety of supports within courthouses, within the family justice centers. So rather than leaving a person on their own to try to figure it out on their own, these are ways of knitting together different services so that people can access a variety of options that are available.
Karen Ortman [00:08:08] And are your personnel available 24/7?
Wanda Lucibello [00:08:13] So the hotline is a 24/7 hotline.
Karen Ortman [00:08:17] And what is that hotline number again?
Wanda Lucibello [00:08:19] It's 1 800 621 HOPE.
Karen Ortman [00:08:21] Okay. So somebody can call that number at any time, regarding anything we just talked about and get help?
Wanda Lucibello [00:08:31] Yes.
Karen Ortman [00:08:34] Okay. How is it that Safe Horizon, and maybe even more particularly, the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which you will speak about, I'm sure, in a moment, how do they cater to the college communities here in New York City? We have a multitude of institutions of higher learning, so I'm sure that that's probably a challenge for you to reach that population and in what ways are you able to do so?
Wanda Lucibello [00:09:07] So we're able to do so in a variety of ways. The partnership, for example, that we have with NYU, you know, allows the sharing of information on the part of Safe Horizon to understand what NYU has available but also for NYU to understand what's available through Safe Horizon. So depending at which point a victim of a crime needs help and support and who they access, it is likely that they will be connected in some way, shape, or form with the Crime Victim Assistance Program, for example, or with one of the other Safe Horizon's programs. So for example, with the Crime Victim Assistance Program, advocates are now in every single precinct in New York City, including the housing police service areas, the PSA’s.
Karen Ortman [00:10:04] Okay. Because that wasn't the case a short time back. I know that that was something that you were working on, so it has happened.
Wanda Lucibello [00:10:14] It has happened, yeah. So it's a total of 86 precincts, 77 police precincts and nine PSA’s so —
Karen Ortman [00:10:27] So let's talk about that—the Crime Victim Assistance Program. So I know they're advocates, but can you tell our listeners what service the advocates provide and is there any sort of specialty associated with this program, crime specific or otherwise?
Wanda Lucibello [00:10:47] So each precinct—except for a few low volume precincts—each precinct has two advocates assigned to that precinct who work for Safe Horizon. And just to back up a little bit, this is a partnership between Safe Horizon and NYPD. And it grew out of the Domestic Violence Police Program, which goes back to the late 80s where Safe Horizon had domestic violence advocates placed in a certain number of precincts in New York City. And over time with grant funding changes, it kind of dwindled down and then became—three years ago—replaced by the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which started to roll out in 2016. So Karen, you mentioned you know that we're now in all boroughs and in all precincts. And that's only since less than a year ago actually, that we rolled out into every precinct in New York City.
Karen Ortman [00:11:56] That's a huge undertaking. That's wonderful.
Wanda Lucibello [00:11:58] Yeah, and I'm glad you appreciate it. So let me give you sort of a snapshot, if I can, of what it looks like when an advocate comes into the precinct. So one starts at 8:00 a.m. and works until 4:00 p.m. and the next advocate—in a two advocate precinct—comes in at noon and works until 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Wanda Lucibello [00:12:28] So they are present in the precinct. And the partnership with NYPD has NYPD providing advocates with the police reports, and the extraordinary thing for me about it, is that an advocate is actually then calling someone on the phone who's listed as a victim in that crime report, calling that victim on the phone.
Wanda Lucibello [00:12:56] If it's the domestic violence advocate, they're picking up a domestic report and they're calling the victim on the phone and saying, you know, not, “We need you to do something for us,” but rather, “How can we help you?” Which is a different model. You know, in law enforcement, oftentimes, police need, whether it's a signature on an affidavit, a statement from a person—and that is their job. You know, this sort of expands that and now someone's getting a call, not from a police officer necessarily, although the police certainly are still going to do their part of the job in helping a victim, but it's going to be an advocate who's saying, “Hey, I'm looking at this police report, how can we help you?” And that's a big change.
Karen Ortman [00:14:00] Yeah. So if I understand correctly, a victim reports to one of the precincts, files a report as a victim, it could be domestic violence. It could be another crime. And the police officer takes the report. The reports containing the victims’ names are turned over to the advocates. The advocate then reviews the reports and does outreach, from a victim advocacy standpoint, to say, “I know you're working with the NYPD, but I'm here as the victim advocate. How can I help you?” And that could mean being present for future meetings with the police officer or detective?
Wanda Lucibello [00:14:47] Yeah, that's a possibility.
Karen Ortman [00:14:50] That could mean accompanying the victim to obtain or file for an application or a temporary restraining order?
Wanda Lucibello [00:14:57] That's also possible, although, we might connect that person with the Court Program Safe Horizon assistance.
Karen Ortman [00:15:05] So would the victim advocate help with that or would they get connected to somebody else? Because does the victim advocate stay at the precinct?
Wanda Lucibello [00:15:14] Yes. So the victim advocate stays at the precinct.
Wanda Lucibello [00:15:18] And I would also add, in addition to speaking to people over the phone who have actually filed police reports, it's also open to someone walking into a precinct who has never filed a police report and wants to explore what it would look like to file a police report, what would the next steps be, how can you help me before I file a police report. So that's a really important function too because police precincts are in everyone's community. And to be able to have that kind of access by walking in and saying, “I need some help.” And you know, what's wonderful about the Crime Victim Assistance Program is that the police officers are really able to say, “I have an advocate here who can speak with you. Have a seat for a second and I'll call out the Crime Victim Assistance Program advocate.”
Karen Ortman [00:16:27] And to go along with what you're saying, precincts are in every neighborhood and sometimes victims, who might live close by to that precinct, are still apprehensive about walking through those doors. So to be able to reach out to an advocate in that precinct, even by calling on the phone and having a telephone conversation—similar to what we do at NYU in Victim Services within Public Safety, offer a very similar service. And there's a lot of people who have questions about the criminal justice process and the system, and reporting or not reporting, that come to see our Victim Assistance people in Public Safety, so it's along the same lines. And I have to agree with you, it's an invaluable service because just getting a person to have the conversation about reporting is hopefully getting a step closer to actually reporting.
Wanda Lucibello [00:17:24] Yeah and Karen, you mentioned something earlier about how would people sort of find their way to the doorstep, if you will, of a precinct. And, you know, one of the things that advocates do is they do community outreach. So they attend, with police officers, events within the community that let people know in the community what is available and what their choices and options are.
Wanda Lucibello [00:17:55] So people know that they can walk into a precinct and get support and get help not just from the police, but also from an advocate from Safe Horizon's Crime Victim Assistance Program.
Karen Ortman [00:18:10] Well, hopefully those individuals who don't know, will know after listening to this podcast. And hopefully we will reach a lot of people who may need the services of an advocate and they will know how to find them.
Sabah Fatima [00:18:27] Yeah, I mean, I love the idea of just outreach itself because I feel like it makes the victim matter and it also makes it in a more comfortable setting as well. There is a significant international population at NYU. What if we have an international student who speaks a language other than English and is a victim, can a precinct advocate help?
Wanda Lucibello [00:18:51] Yes. So when we hire advocates for placement in precincts we try, whenever possible, to match their linguistic skills to the population in that community. So advocates in the precincts speak approximately 15 different languages. But also, what's really important is that they have access to Language Line, which is essentially a way of accessing a speaker of almost any language. I mean, it's really very extensive and the advocate accesses Language Line and essentially does a three way conversation with the victim so that the victim's language is translated through a translation service so that they're able to communicate.
Karen Ortman [00:19:51] And what exactly is Language Line?
Wanda Lucibello [00:19:53] So Language Line is a network really of different speakers of many, many different languages and they can be throughout the country, essentially, and through one number, when you go through the menu of options of languages, you're connected with that speaker.
Karen Ortman [00:20:19] Interesting. So they serve a multitude of professions?
Wanda Lucibello [00:20:21] Yes, hospitals, police departments, Safe Horizon—a variety of people use them.
Sabah Fatima [00:20:28] Just curious, but is that conversation that you have with the language line confidential then?
Wanda Lucibello [00:20:35] So advocates are confidential, with certain exceptions. There are some exceptions to confidentiality where it involves harm to self, harm to a child, or harm to another person. And also, we let people know that because we're sitting physically in a precinct, we may not have a private area. Many of the precincts, they're noisy, they're busy. So we let everyone know that there's certain information we may share with the police. So that's how confidentiality works. And that would apply as well through a language line.
Sabah Fatima [00:21:15] I love that. How are you able to measure the success of the Crime Victim Assistance Program?
Wanda Lucibello [00:21:21] That's a really good question. So every year since we began, we have been doing client surveys and just to note, that it's not the advocate asking direct questions of the client, but rather it's a connection to a survey that the client accesses so that they can do it in the privacy of their home. And so what we're finding from those surveys, not surprisingly, is that clients feel safer after they’ve spoken to an advocate. They also feel better equipped to know what choices and options are available, which I think is really important because of what we were talking about earlier—how confusing different criminal justice systems can be and what supports are available— so clients, based on those surveys, in this particular year we had over 400 responses. So that's you know, a feature of the success of the program that I think is important to mention. And also, what we learned from the Domestic Violence Police Program, from DVPP, is that advocates go on home visits with police officers too. And police feel much better with an advocate on a home visit than they are going out with other police officers. And also clients feel better having the combination of the advocate and a police officer in their home. That kind of collaborative partnership is really, really important. And I also feel that any time you have multiple disciplines together, living together under one roof in one place, it almost creates kind of a laboratory for learning about how systems can get improved upon, where the gaps are, how can we fix things. And we've seen this in other models like family justice centers, you know, where you can pick out much more readily where there are holes in—
Karen Ortman [00:23:56] It’s like that multidisciplinary sort of approach.
Wanda Lucibello [00:23:59] Exactly. And one other thing, I just love how advocates are learning about policing and police learn about advocacy, and not in a teaching kind of way, but just from observation, hearing how advocates speak with clients, doing home visits together, and when the police officer hands someone a card with an advocate's number on it, the advocate calling that person. It just shows allyship right away.
Karen Ortman [00:24:38] You know there's a real life learning opportunity for all involved.
Sabah Fatima [00:24:42] Just to jump in there, Wanda and I were speaking before about how it's almost like a dating relationship, where you've moved in with someone and now you're learning about each other and learning where some of those gaps are—which definitely happens, if anyone's experienced moving in with someone. It's like initially, there's definitely the growing pains that I think advocates and the NYPD face.
Sabah Fatima [00:25:06] But at the same time there's also a piece of—Wanda had mentioned—deepening that relationship and making it more meaningful. So I thought that was a really interesting analogy and I just wanted to bring it up and another—
Karen Ortman [00:25:24] I was actually going to turn to you, Saheli.
Saheli Kothari [00:25:27] No, that's okay. I was just going to build off of what Wanda was saying in terms of these sort of intangential ways of seeing—or intangible ways, rather, of seeing successes when an officer comes to our advocate and asks, “Can you help me with this client?” Because that's something where the NYPD is taking the initiative to connect a client to our advocates, which is huge.
Karen Ortman [00:25:54] So share with us if you will—and thank you again for joining us. So share with us your role as manager at Safe Horizon and how you see the Crime Victim Assistance Program and its role in victim advocacy impacting our community.
Saheli Kothari [00:26:16] Sure. So again, thanks for having me. I graduated from NYU in 2011 so it’s good to be back. So my role as manager is I manage four of the precincts out in Queens—well, I supervise seven advocates but amongst four precincts. And what that looks like is I'll be going to each of the precincts usually at least once a week. I do supervision with each of the advocates to see how things are going, whether there's difficult cases, there's challenges, how to troubleshoot or even some of the feel good moments, and that's also really nice because that helps fill purpose into our roles as what we're doing.
Karen Ortman [00:27:03] Can I ask you, before you go further, can you speak to the training that your advocates get to become a precinct advocate as part of the Crime Victim Assistance Program?
Saheli Kothari [00:27:18] Yeah. So first when they start—it all depends on when they start—if it's like a cohort that’s starting together, they sort of go through a lot of trainings together. If you're starting in the middle of between hirings, which is now what's happening, our advocates go to a lot of Safe Horizon trainings that are offered about how to interact with clients. So there's one which is called Client Centered Practice, which is the umbrella under which we interact with clients—you know, how to have those interactions. So that's almost like the first training that we try to have most of our advocates go to. And then aside from that, there's other trainings on need to knows about orders of protection, need to know about crime victims, being a mandated reporter, navigating your success, race and racism in the United States. So these are all trainings that all of our advocates go through throughout, you know, it may be three or four months. And at the same time in the beginning, when they first start, we also have them shadow different precincts to get an idea of what your day to day is going to be looking like. And when I have a new advocate start, I generally—when they're making their first couple phone calls— I'll be there to help walk them through it. Before they make the phone call, you know, we highlight some of the important things that they may or may not want to bring up because of liberal report. But having said that, part of the training process is— like a big part of it— is shadowing other advocates and doing what they—you know, learn by observation and then learn by doing.
Karen Ortman [00:28:51] What is the background of your advocates?
Saheli Kothari [00:28:54] Honestly, our advocates come from all walks of life. We have a large portion, I think, that may have majored in psychology or criminal justice, or women's studies. We also have advocates that majored in English and things like that but have had internships at non-profits or worked at non-profits at a different capacity and so all walks of life.
Saheli Kothari [00:29:19] But you know, especially in Queens, I mean, everyone is from a diverse background.
Wanda Lucibello [00:29:30] And I would just add one more thing for client-centered practice, it's very intensive—it's a six day long program that every advocate is required to take. And as say Saheli mentioned, we have a very robust training department, so orders of protection, human trafficking, the legal system, immigration, criminal justice—all of those are topics that they will take when they become an advocate
Karen Ortman [00:30:05] And client centered—what's the course called?
Wanda Lucibello [00:30:07] It's called client-centered practice.
Karen Ortman [00:30:12] So can you just explain to our listeners who might be thinking about reporting or thinking about seeking your services and don't know what that means—can you just explain what it means to be client centered?
Saheli Kothari [00:30:27] Sure. So client entered practice or being client centered is meeting the client where they're at. That's ultimately our goal. And it's because I think—I mean, I guess I can speak for myself but I think it's—most humans, you kind of don't want to—you don't do something until you're ready for it. And so client centered practice means that we try to meet the clients where they're at. If they're not ready to make a report, that's not something we're going to force them to do. If they do want to make a report, we'll talk them through how to do that. If they decide that they're not ready to leave—let's say an abusive relationship, then we may speak to the client about, you know, what does safety look like in that scenario. If you do want to stay, what does safety look like in that scenario.
Saheli Kothari [00:31:09] And it's more of a discussion rather than like, “Here are the next six steps of what you should be doing,” it’s more of a discussion.
Karen Ortman [00:31:17] And it’s not, “Here are the six things that you will do. And it's not, “Okay, you came to see us, so now we're walking you to the precinct.”
Saheli Kothari [00:31:26] Right. We've had clients that have called the precinct, walked into the precinct and said that, you know, “I don't want to make a report,” and we say, “It's not up to us to make the report, let us see.”
Karen Ortman [00:31:37] So coming to see you does not trigger anything law enforcement wise?
Saheli Kothari [00:31:39] No.
Sabah Fatima [00:31:40] Saheli, can you speak to the value of the risk assessments and safety planning and at what point should a victim survivor consider these conversations imperative?
Saheli Kothari [00:31:51] Absolutely. I think it depends on the client and what they're looking for. But risk assessment and safety planning is something that is very much part of the training in client centered practice, and it's also something you do in every interaction with a client. Like even if I've spoken to a client two days ago and I'm speaking to them now, I'll still do a quick safety and risk assessment to check in to see if everything is okay and if anything's changed since I last spoke to them. So I think in terms of the value of risk and safety planning, it's one of those things where, you know, sometimes clients may or may not see the risks. And so we just want to open the door and see if this is a risk and if it is, if there's any services we can provide or brainstorm with the client how to keep themselves safe. And a lot of that also entails checking in with the client as to what they're already doing because if a client has survived their life this far, they are the experts in their own lives, right? So we're not there to tell them what to do but rather to see whatever protective strategies they already have and build on them if they need and if they don't, that's okay as well.
Karen Ortman [00:33:05] Wanda, I have one question. We've had several instances in Public Safety where people have come forward with delayed disclosures. So we have, you know, most of our population is over the age of 18 and it can go up depending upon what program they're enrolled in, so I'm not gonna say 18 to 22 because it could be older and it could be a grad student, it could be faculty staff, whatever. But people have come forward with delayed disclosures regarding abuse as a child. So I know under Safe Horizon, you have child advocacy centers. If I have, say a 19 year old who comes forward and says that they were sexually abused as a 9 year old, would they be seen by your child advocacy center because of the age at which the incident occurred? Or would they go through the normal process of going to the precinct and speaking to a victim advocate?
Wanda Lucibello [00:34:04] So I'm going to answer with a couple of answers. So as a Crime Victim Assistance Program, advocates don't get police reports regarding sexual assault because of confidentiality laws. So that's an exception to the types of police reports that we get. You know when you asked earlier about like three to five years, that would be a perfect addition to the Crime Victim Assistance Program—to have specialty advocates for that purpose. So that would not happen with the Crime Victim Assistance Program advocates currently.
Wanda Lucibello [00:34:47] So as far as going to child advocacy centers, you know, this I think is an evolving area given the recent change in the law in New York State, specifically the Child Victims Act. So—
Karen Ortman [00:35:04] Can you speak to them a little bit about it?
Wanda Lucibello [00:35:06] So what the Act has done is it's taken away some of the time constraints for reporting. So when you mentioned delays in reporting, it has removed some of those bars to reporting and to some degree, getting assistance in terms of whether it's prosecution or civil remedies for incidents that happened in childhood, even though one is now an adult and reporting for the first time. So I think because it's an evolving area, I think that more likely than not, the adult is going to seek the support and services of counselors, who are more prepared to speak to adults. Child advocacy centers—the training and the way case managers are supporting victims, it's mostly from a child centered way. So even though the person is an adult, I don't think that they would necessarily go to a child advocacy center. But will likely get counseling and support in one of the community programs.
Saheli Kothari [00:36:33] Just to jump off of that, we have had situations—and so our advocates likely will not turn away anyone at the precinct. So if someone comes into the precinct as a walk in and discloses sexual assault, then our advocates can actually assist in those cases. It's just that we can't get reports, but they can do that.
Karen Ortman [00:36:53] Got it. Good to know. Thank you.
Sabah Fatima [00:36:58] I know you mentioned a couple of things that you see the Crime Victim Assistance Program doing in three to five years—what else can you add to that?
Wanda Lucibello [00:37:06] So for example, we're not in any of the transit bureaus now, so it would be great to be in transit precincts. So that's another area, I think of specialty, that I could see the Crime Victim Assistance Program expanding into. But I also think in three to five years, what we'll be seeing is just—because of the partnership and because of the collaboration—we're going to see and hear from advocates and from officers like, “What did we ever do before we had this partnership? What was that like?” I could see new police officers saying, “You mean there was a time where there wasn't an advocate in a precinct What would that be like?” So I think that that’s where—I mean, that's hard to measure in a way—but I think that when it happens, it just feels very right. It feels very kind of profound and I think also, you know, for victims, it means knowing at a much earlier point in time—like, “What are my options? What are my choices? I feel less alone now that I've had this early opportunity to address what was a very scary incident.”
Sabah Fatima [00:38:42] Yeah, it definitely does make them more comfortable.
Saheli Kothari [00:38:44] And I think New York City as busy as it is and as crowded as it is, it can feel like a very lonely city. And it's a very odd thing to think when you see this many people around, but I think something like CVAP brings a level of support that you may not feel. Because New York City—a lot of people leave their friends, their families, they move out here and you may have a lot of people that you're acquainted with, but how many people can you reach out to for support if you got mugged on the street, or your house was burglarized, or you're in an abusive relationship? You don't have the local support maybe or even if you do, are they people that you can reach out to? And maybe they are but if you can't, then programs like CVAP and, you know, organizations like Safe Horizon—that's where they sort of come in or offer that kind of support.
Karen Ortman [00:39:41] I think this is the first time we use the CVAP acronym, so Crime Victim Assistance Program is CVAP.
Saheli Kothari [00:39:49] Yes. Saves some time for us.
Sabah Fatima [00:39:51] Thank you, Wanda and Saheli, for joining us today. Is there anything you'd like to add?
Wanda Lucibello [00:39:55] So one thing I'd like to add is just if a student or an NYU community member has been victimized, the way to figure out what precinct to go to—if the person wants to walk into a precinct—is to use Precinct Finder. So do a search by putting in the address of where the crime occurred and that's the precinct that is the best place, the easiest place to go and make that report. And there's also—from our website, safehorizon.org—there's also a link to the Crime Victim Assistance Program and to Precinct Finder.
Karen Ortman [00:40:43] But, Precinct Finder is also on the NYPD website?
Wanda Lucibello [00:40:45] Yes, that's correct.
Karen Ortman [00:40:46] Great. That’s good information.
Sabah Fatima [00:40:49] Yeah. Thank you for providing that, I think that's very useful. And thank you for coming on today's episode of You Matter, and to all of our listeners for joining in.
Karen Ortman [00:41:02] If any information presented today was triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the Wellness Exchange at 212 443 9999. You can also get in touch with NYU’s Department of Public Safety and their Victim Services Unit by calling 212 998 2222.
Sabah Fatima [00:41:19] For more podcasts like these, you could find us by searching for You Matter on Apple podcasts or Google Play.