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SEEKING SUPPORT?
The Alliance has compiled a number of resources available for survivors, their friends and families, and professionals assisting survivors in New York City.

Newsletter: Summer 2004: Forensic Healthcare Program Report

This Aprilís second annual Criminal Justice Collaboration Conference marked two years of commitment, availability, and partnership amongst New York City and State professionals actively involved in helping sexual assault survivors recover and rebuild their lives. Drawing an audience of nearly 100 multi-disciplinary professionals, the agenda reflected both the history and the vision of a comprehensive response to sexual assault in New York City, a response that involves collaboration between rape crisis programs, sexual assault forensic examiner programs, health care, law enforcement, prosecution and the Mayorís office.†† Presenters included leaders from each facet of the collaboration.

Deputy Inspector Susan Morley reported on her first year as the Commanding Officer of the Sexual Assault Division of the New York City Police Department and the successes and challenges she has faced. †

Assistant District Attorney (Manhattan County) Larry Busching, who serves as the Chair of the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Legislative Sub-Committee of the New York State District Attorneyís Association, reported on five emergent pieces of legislation including motions to expand the DNA Database, to make interfering with a call for assistance a criminal act, and to make clergy mandated reporters of sexual abuse. †

The Allianceís own Research Coordinator, Karyn Hadfield, presented on data collection within the various systems responding to sexual assault survivors in New York City, and opened up a discussion on how to improve data collection in order to measure and respond to the needs of survivors.

Prosecuting attorneys from Manhattan (Lisa Friel, Chief of Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit), Queens ( Eric Rosenbaum, Assistant District Attorney), Brooklyn (Craig Esswein, Deputy Bureau Chief) and the Bronx (Elisa Koendernman, Chief of the Child Abuse/ Sex Crime Bureau) expounded on new initiatives in their districts, and presented cases in which collaboration between their offices, health professionals and rape crisis advocates had led to prosecutorial success.

The afternoon opened with a panel representing the initiatives of Sexual Assault Examiner teams throughout the city.† Dr. Brigitte Alexander reported on the development of a new sexual assault response team in the Bronx.† Lisa Policar of Elmhurst Hospitalís SAFE program, reported on the continuously improving collaboration between rape advocates, medical professionals and law enforcement at her facility. Dr. Bernadith Russell, of Long Island College Hospitalís Rape Crisis Intervention Program spoke on the continuing challenges of providing compassionate, comprehensive care in an under-funded program.† Carole Weinman, Director of Safe Horizon Staten Island Community Programs, provided insight into her advocatesí work with examiners from St. Vincentís Catholic Medical Center as well as follow-up counseling. Finally, Susan Xenarios, Director of St. Lukeís-Roosevelt wrapped up by providing both retrospection and new ideas to address issues that arise for longer-established SAFE programs.

The afternoon wrapped up with an in-depth exploration of DNA issues as they relate to sexual assault prosecution and prevention, as well as offender management.† John Hicks, Director of the NYS DNA Databank, updated the audience on the status of and the need for expanding the databank to improve its efficacy as a prosecutorial tool.† Detectives Edward Tacchi and Alan Sandomir of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit provided a compelling case study where a DNA hit helped clinch a prosecution.† Finally, Sgt. Tom Brick, Commanding Officer of the Sex Offender Monitoring Unit detailed the recent work of his unit and its plans for the future.

The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault thanks the CJCP Planning committee for all their hard work to make this conference a success, and looks forward to embarking on the planning of next yearís endeavor.

(Read other articles in this series.)

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Alliance staff members Laura Fidler, Kira Laffe and Katie Cain hold the Alliance banner at the Denim Day NYC press conference
Alliance staff members Laura Fidler, Kira Laffe and Katie Cain hold the Alliance banner at the Denim Day NYC press conference