The Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office has been and continues to be an advocate for victims of domestic violence and abuse. Attorneys within the Domestic Violence Unit specialize in prosecuting domestic violence cases and working with victims of domestic violence. In addition, advocates within DA Heggen’s office work with domestic violence victims through the Crime Victim Unit. Batterers are held responsible for their criminal conduct and victims feel and are safer because of the prosecution of these cases. No longer are these cases simply referred to family court, but instead are prosecuted in criminal court.
The Domestic Violence Task Force
The Domestic Violence Task Force, run by Saratoga County Legal Aid, meets monthly and represents more than 20 different government agencies including the District Attorney’s Office, probation, police departments, not for profits, schools, advocacy groups, community organizations and faith based groups The Task Force has been instrumental in ensuring collaboration among the various members to more efficiently deliver prosecutorial resources to the residents of Saratoga County. In addition, the District Attorney’s Office and the Task Force have assisted in the drafting of legislation to toughen laws against domestic violence and stiffen the penalties for abusers and stalkers. The District Attorney’s office assists in the revision of the “Domestic Incident Report”, which memorializes abusive, harassing or other criminal behavior and creates a permanent record of an incident even if no arrest occurs. The Saratoga County District Attorney institutionalized the Domestic Incident Report (DIR) process by indexing and cataloging DIRS historically back through and including 1997. This county-wide database receives DIR’s from the 14 law enforcement agencies in Saratoga County and can be sorted by victim, offender, charged, uncharged and jurisdiction. All prosecutors have access to the database. Protocols and memorandums of understanding have been executed between all county agencies giving access to the DIR database. Department of Social Services (DSS) utilizes the database, charged and uncharged, when conducting investigations into child abuse and neglect, hotline reports, criminal investigations, family offenses and related investigations.
Domestic Violence Specialized Courts
Justices preside over Domestic Violence Courts in the City of Saratoga Springs, City of Mechanicville, and Town of Clifton Park, on certain days of the month and a domestic violence prosecutor is present in the courtroom to prosecute these cases. In addition, the prosecutor and victim specialists refer victims to support and advocacy agencies to further assist victims of domestic violence with counseling, shelter and support. Victim specialists can be reached by calling the District Attorney’s office at 518-885-2263, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WELLSPRING: Domestic Violence Services and Rape Crisis.
24 Hour Hotline: 518-584-8188, http://www.wellspringcares.org . The Mission of WELLSPRING is to provide free, confidential and comprehensive victim-assistance services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout Saratoga County and prevention education to local schools and community groups. Our mission is to end domestic violence and sexual assault in Saratoga County. Services are listed below. Our services are available to all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Saratoga County. Our office address is 2816 U.S. 9, in Malta, NY, 12020. Our office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, 518-583-0280. Appointments may also be scheduled after hours, or at one of our Outreach Sites throughout the county. Hotline: Emergency crisis services, information, and counseling available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shelter: A nine bed safe dwelling, providing shelter to male and female victims of domestic violence and their children. Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) Program: Provides for the collection of forensic evidence by specially trained nurse examiners in conjunction with Saratoga Hospital, for the purpose of aiding law enforcement and the DA’s office in successful prosecution. A rape crisis advocate is available throughout the exam. Individual Counseling: By appointment or on a walk-in basis. Counseling on issues and dynamics of domestic violence, physical and emotional reactions to sexual assault, safety plans, exploring options. Information and Referral: Accessing community resources and services. Advocacy Services: Assistance with legal matters (filing charges, orders of protection, custody and child support petitions, accompaniment to police department, family and criminal courts), medical and therapeutic needs, education, employment, housing and children’s services. Some transportation assistance is available. Legal Clinics: are offered bi-weekly and provide the opportunity for people who cannot afford an attorney to obtain an initial consultation with an attorney. Please contact 583-0280 to schedule an appointment. Hope Support Group for Women: (Open Group) Weekly support group for women in crisis and at the beginning of making changes. Children’s Services: Call for information on programs & services specifically designed for children. Safe Pet Partnership: Provides a network of kennels, vets, pet foster homes, etc. for safe temporary placement of domestic violence victim’s animals. Individual Case Management: Assistance in transitioning to safe and secure living through regular meetings, focusing on developing goals and working towards economic self-sufficiency. Other Support and Educational Groups: Issue oriented groups on various topics are offered according to client need and staff availability. Call for more information. Housing and Employment Counseling: Provided by our full time housing/employment specialist. Community and Professional Education Training: Programs in family violence and sexual assault issues and prevention for schools, civic organizations, church groups, service providers and professionals. Specialized training is available for professional groups.
For more information Contact: Wellspring, 2816 U.S. 9, Malta, NY, 12020; Office phone: 518-583-0280; 24-hour Hotline: 518-584-8188