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Resources for Families of Murder Victims

New York County District Attorney’s Witness Aid Services Unit (WASU)

As a crime victim, the New York County District Attorney’s Office realizes the social and emotional impact that crime can have on you, your family, and your friends.  As a result, our office has established the Witness Aid Services Unit to provide you with the ongoing support and services that you may need.  The unit provides a wide range of services to victims, witnesses, and their families including social services assistance, professional counseling services, court related assistance, and help in understanding and gaining access to the criminal justice system.

If your family has experienced the loss of a loved one, the Witness Aid Services Unit is here to help you and other family members deal with the traumatic consequences of such a loss.  Please contact our unit’s Victim Assistance Center at (212) 335-9040.  The Center has a trained homicide victim specialist to assist you.  You can reach the Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The staff can provide you with court related information such as the court case number, information on the status of the case, and the name of the assistant district attorney who is prosecuting the case.   The staff will also advocate and coordinate services for you with community agencies.

Examples of some of the many other services provided by the unit are:

  •       Counseling of family members by certified social workers;
  •       Assistance in applying for reimbursement of burial expenses
  •       Safety planning;
  •       Accompaniment to court;
  •       Information about the case and the court process;
  •       Crisis intervention and support;
  •       Victims’ rights information and assistance in exercising those rights;

The Witness Aid Services Unit has a staff of 35, including victim advocates and social workers who are specially trained to help you.  Spanish speaking staff and interpreters for other languages are available.  All services offered by the unit are free of charge.

Click here for the Witness Aid Services Unit's brochure

The following is a list of specific programs for families of murder victims that you may find helpful:

Compassionate Friends

Assists families cope with grief following the death of a child of any age.  They can be reached at 212-217-9647.  You can also visit their website at:

www.compassionatefriendsnyc.org

Safe Horizon Families of Homicide Victims

Provides advocacy with law enforcement agencies, court accompaniment, individual and family counseling, support groups, and educational presentations.  They can be reached at 212-316-2100 ext. 6191.  You can also visit their website at:

http://www.safehorizon.org/

The following is a listing of general resources for victims and families that you may find useful:

New York City Department of Correction

This city agency has an inmate lookup service which provides information regarding inmates who are in the custody of the New York City correctional system.  This agency can be reached at 718-546-1500.  You can also visit their website at:

http://a072-web.nyc.gov/inmatelookup

New York State Department of Correctional Services

This state agency has an inmate lookup service which provides information regarding inmates who are incarcerated in state correctional facilities.  The information available includes parole hearing dates and potential dates for the release of the inmate.  Victims can also register to receive various types of release notifications.  This agency can be reached at 518-457-8126.  You can also visit their website at:

www.docs.state.ny.us/VictimSvc/vsoverview.html

New York State Division of Parole

This state agency assists victims in making victim impact statements which could have an effect when an inmate is released from a state correctional facility.  This agency also has a parolee lookup service which provides information regarding inmates who have been released by a state correctional facility and who are now under parole supervision.  This agency can be reached at 518-473-9400.  You can also visit their website at:

www.parole.state.ny.us/lookup.html

New York State Office of Victim Services

This state agency provides several different types of financial compensation to victims of crime including reimbursement for unpaid medical expenses, loss of income, burial expenses and crime scene cleanup.  This agency can be reached at 800-247-8035.  You can also visit their website at:

www.ovs.ny.gov

VINE (Victim Inmate Notification Everyday)

VINE is a national victim notification network.  The service provided by VINE allows victims to obtain timely information about the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day.  If an offender is in custody at the time of their call to VINE or their website search for the offender, VINE offers the victim an opportunity to register to receive an automated release notification.  Victims can register to receive a release notification by phone, by fax, or by email.  VINE can be reached at 888-846-3469.  You can also visit their website at:

www.vinelink.com