The New York Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs has several professional advocates on staff who provide guidance and assistance to people receiving services who have either been victims of, or witnesses to, acts of abuse and neglect. Assistance and guidance is also provided to families.
The Justice Center’s Individual and Family Support Unit (IFSU) is staffed with 10 advocates and has responded to more than 3,700 unique callers from people who receive services or their family members and personal representatives since 2013.
The Individual and Family Support Unit provides a variety of services including:
•Guidance and information about the reporting and investigative process.
•Support during criminal cases and proceedings.
•Victim interview accompaniment.
•Case status updates.
A comprehensive guide for individuals receiving services and their families is available on the Justice Center website. This document, together with other information about the Individual and Family Support Unit, explains the reporting and investigation process.
These services are provided free of charge.
Families and individuals receiving services can contact a Justice Center advocate by calling 1-800-624-4143 or by email: [email protected], or by visiting the Justice Center’s website. All inquiries and requests for information are required to be kept confidential.
The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and ensure that all allegations of abuse or neglect are fully investigated. The Justice Center investigates, reviews and makes findings in allegations of abuse and neglect by staff – including employees, volunteers, interns, consultants, or contractors – against individuals who receive services.
The Justice Center’s primary purpose and responsibility is to protect the health, safety and welfare of people with special needs who receive services or supports from state operated, certified or licensed facilities and programs.
The Justice Center oversees facilities or programs operated, licensed or certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and the State Education Department (SED).