Center for Victim Safety and Support (CVSS)

CVSS provides 24 hour non-residential, comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. CVSS also specializes in enhancing the systems response to victims of crime as well as prevention of crimes. We operate under the guidelines of a victim-centered approach, supporting victims’ rights, dignity, autonomy, and self-determination.

To enhance the systems response to victims of crime, CVSS follows a model of co-location, where staff split their time between the main office and partner agencies throughout the community to facilitate partnerships and streamline services to victims.

Services provided by CVSS include:

24 hour hotlines: We provide a 24 hour domestic violence hotline and a 24 hour rape crisis/crime victim’s hotline. These hotlines are a resource to community members in need including primary and secondary victims, law enforcement, medical professionals, partner agencies, and other community members in need of assistance. The rape crisis/crime victim’s hotline is also the Dutchess County hotline for human trafficking victims.

Advocacy/Accompaniment: Victim Advocates staffed at CVSS are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information and referral, emotional support, guidance, and help finding resources. Advocates accompany victims throughout their process including going with them to court, police, social services, hospitals, and other.

Counseling: CVSS provides an array of services to help victims through their healing process including 3 months of free trauma counseling and support groups. Therapy or counseling can help people who have experienced trauma make sense of their experiences and feelings, develop plans to stay safe, learn healthy coping skills, and connect with other resources and support.

Rape Crisis Services: CVSS Victim Advocates provide rape crisis services and are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to and accompany sexual assault victims and secondary victims to hospital emergency rooms, police departments and court rooms.

Domestic Abuse Response Team: The Domestic Abuse Response Team Project (DART) works to enhance the criminal justice response to domestic violence to increase the accountability of offenders as well as increase safety of victims through coordination of services.  DART is an interdisciplinary approach consisting of the Special Victims Bureau of the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, DART advocates at CVSS, police officers from each of the DART Police Departments, DART Probation Officers from the Dutchess County Office of Probation and Community Corrections, and the Project Coordinator for the Universal Response to Domestic Violence.

High Risk Case Management: CVSS leads the Dutchess County High Risk Response Team. The goal of this project is to reduce lethality in domestic violence cases with the goal of preventing homicide. The High Risk Team is a multidisciplinary group of local professionals that identifies and addresses the most serious and potentially lethal cases of domestic violence in the county.

Lethality Assessment Program: CVSS partners with local law enforcement agencies in the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). LAP consists of an 11-question screening tool, used by law enforcement when responding to a domestic incident and an accompanying referral protocol. The program has established an effective method to connect victims of domestic violence who have the greatest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their abusers to a domestic violence service provider immediately following an abusive incident.

Underserved populations: CVSS is committed to working towards an end to violence in traditionally underserved communities. CVSS provides services for victims with special needs, such as differently-abled, non-English speaking, or hearing impaired. Non-English-speaking domestic violence victims are accommodated by CVSS staff who are fluent in Spanish and by access to 24/7 Language Line services. Additionally, CVSS provides services with an informed understanding of specific needs and challenges of LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.  CVSS recognizes the barriers that many underserved populations may face when accessing any type of service, so we also offer referrals to allied organizations according to individual needs.

Outreach/Education: CVSS provides outreach and education to community members in an effort to spread awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes as well as to make the community aware of victim’s rights and services. We also have a comprehensive intern/volunteer program and provide a 40 hour training course in the NYS Department of Health Rape Crisis Certification for community members.