Legislation sponsored by Senator Declan O’Scanlon that unifies crime victim services within a new Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) in the Department of Law and Public Safety was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
“As crime rates continue to soar, centralizing New Jersey’s efforts to provide violence intervention and prevention, and victim assistance services in one division is critically important to enhance law and order throughout the state,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “Unifying services for crime victims in New Jersey helps communities and individuals recover. This will also strengthen our legal system by building partnerships with law enforcement.”
Currently, the State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy, Victims of Crime Compensation Office, and the New Jersey Violence Intervention Program all operate across separate divisions in the Department of Law and Public Safety to provide financial resources, court accompaniment, and invest in violence reduction initiatives. Senator O’Scanlon’s legislation, S-3086, unifies these, and other, services within the VIVA division to coordinate, administer, and monitor different programs to safeguard the rights of victims.
Additionally, the legislation appropriates $4.5 million from the General Fund for the establishment of the Division, and another $1.0 million for the Victim of Crime Compensation Office.
“Victims of crime deserve to have all of the resources that they need at their disposal,” said O’Scanlon. “My legislation will ensure that these programs are coordinated and administered in an organized fashion.”