Mayor Adams cuts funding for crime victim services group

More than 10,000 crime victims in New York could lose access to recovery resources this summer, advocates say, after Mayor Eric Adams cut funding for a widely used program.

The mayor’s 2025 budget, which takes effect July 1, will cut $3 million from Safe Horizon – a non-profit victim services agency that helps more than 55,000 New Yorkers affected by crime and abuse each year.

Safe Horizon CEO Liz Roberts said the cuts would be a “huge mistake,” and would force the organization to reduce its crime victim assistance program by as much as 20% if its funding goes from $15 million to $12 million.

“That’s a reduction of 20 police precincts that would no longer have on-site advocates,” Roberts said. “It would mean 11,000 fewer crime victims that we would be able to reach out to in the coming year, and we would have to eliminate 50 full time positions.”

Safe Horizon’s work is fully funded by the city, Roberts said, through a contract with the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence.

The organization stations staff members at each of the city’s 77 police precincts. Their job is to review police reports and proactively reach out to survivors of domestic abuse, gun violence, street attacks and other traumatic incidents, offering them services like therapy and compensation.

When Eboni K. Williams was assaulted and shoved to the ground in 2022 by a stranger while waiting for the 1 train at Columbus Circle, an advocate from Safe Horizon reached out to her within 24 hours – providing help with everything from her physical injuries to pursuing prosecution of her attacker.

“They were there every step of the way – literally kind of holding my hand through pre-litigation, prosecution, the medical aspect of my injuries, also offering me support, like what will help me be able to move forward emotionally,” Williams said.

The incident was a full-circle moment for Williams, a lawyer who served on the board of Safe Horizon from 2018 to 2023. She’s also a familiar face in the media– having appeared on season 13 of the Real Housewives of New York.

But she said navigating the nuances of the criminal justice system and figuring out what she really needed to heal and recover were difficult tasks.

“That whole thing would have been a lot scarier, a lot lonelier, and just a lot more unfortunate of an experience,” she said.

Advocates said it’s especially harmful to cut back on the city’s Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) in the summer – when experts say shootings spike as much as 30% as warm weather leaves more opportunities for people to gather outdoors and get into fights that can turn physical.

“It is so irrational, I would say so irresponsible, of the mayor’s office and any municipality to respond to that uptick and that increase of danger and crime with a reduction of protection,” Williams said. “That’s what you’re saying to voting, tax-paying constituents.”

Mayoral spokesperson Amaris Cockfield said, despite the cut, “The administration remains committed to uplifting and supporting women across New York City.” Roberts said she was “surprised and discouraged” by City Hall’s response.

“We have demonstrated that with more staff, we can serve many more clients,” she said.

Lawmakers will vote on the budget Sunday. If the cuts are approved, Safe Horizon will have to start taking immediate steps to reduce its services.

“We’re holding our breath for a good outcome because it would really be a terrible shame to scale back such such critical services at this time,” Roberts said. “This is a program that actually makes our city a safer and kinder place to live.”

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *