Office of The Victim Advocate
At a Glance
F. PAPILLO, J.D., Ph.D., State Victim
authority – CGS Sec. 46a-13b et seq.
office – 505 Hudson Street, 5th Floor,
Hartford, CT 06106
address – www.ova.state.ct.us
Email address –
of employees – 4
operating expenses - $343,317
structure - Independent State Agency, under the Department of Administrative
Services for administrative purposes only.
Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA), as an independent state agency, works to
protect and promote the legal rights of crime victims in Connecticut.
The OVA monitors and evaluates the provision of services to crime
victims and works to advance policies throughout the state that promote the
fair and just treatment of crime victims throughout the criminal justice
existence of the OVA provides oversight and advocacy when the criminal justice
system fails crime victims. The OVA
remains committed to ensuring that the voices of crime victims play a central
role in Connecticut’s
response to violence and to those victimized by crime.
The OVA is there for Connecticut
citizens who have been victimized by crime and who believe their rights, as
crime victims, have been or are being violated or who believe that services
available to Connecticut
crime victims are being unfairly denied or not being adequately provided. The Victim Advocate and staff receive
complaints from crime victims, or others on behalf of crime victims, and can
investigate such complaints. As an
attorney, the Victim Advocate can file an appearance in any court proceeding
throughout the state to advocate for victims’ rights to make certain that crime
victim rights are being honored and respected by the criminal justice
system. The Victim Advocate monitors and
evaluates the provision of services to crime victims by state agencies and
not-for-profit organizations that make up the victim service delivery
system. The Victim Advocate advocates at
the state legislature for new laws and policies to better serve crime victims
and to improve Connecticut’s
victim services delivery system.
The Victim Advocate and staff constantly
strive to appropriately address the concerns brought to the attention of the
OVA by crime victims and those on behalf of crime victims. The Victim Advocate and staff have frequent,
regular meetings to discuss the handling of particular matters requiring action
by the OVA. Feedback from crime victims
and others regarding the effectiveness of the OVA to work on behalf of
Connecticut crime victims constantly informs and guides the manner in which the
OVA continues to carry out its statutory mandates, always with an eye toward
improving the quality of service provided to crime victims.
During its seventh year of operation, the
Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) continued to operate as a fully functional
state agency committed to effectively and efficiently carrying out its
statutory mandates. The following
specific achievements in this regard are noted:
- The Victim Advocate initiated formal
investigations into various aspects of several recent domestic violence related
homicide cases; several identity theft cases; and the continued relentless
harassment by a convicted rapist of his victim through abuse of our court
- The Victim Advocate initiated formal
investigations of issues pertaining to victims’ compensation; the early
release of inmates on re-entry furloughs and transitional supervision; the
maintenance of the Sex Offender Registry and the enforcement of
registration requirements of those required to register under law as a sex
offender; and compliance with a state law requiring Superior Court judges
to advise crime victims of their state constitutional rights at
arraignment each day in open court.
- The OVA regularly receives complaints from crime
victims throughout the state alleging one or more violations of their
legal rights as crime victims and/or some problem in the provision of
services and the OVA continues to take appropriate action to effectively
resolve the complaint or problem.
- The Victim Advocate has intervened in numerous
criminal and civil court proceedings to effectively advocate for the
enforcement of crime victim rights.
- The Victim Advocate proposed several pieces of
legislation during the 2006 legislative session to further enhance victim
rights. Additionally, the Victim
Advocate advocated in support of several other legislative initiatives,
including Public Act No. 06-11, An
Act Concerning Sexual Assault which expands the activities that
constitute third and forth degree sexual assault; Public Act No. 06-112, An Act Concerning Underage Drinking
which makes it illegal for someone who controls private property to
knowingly permit a minor to illegally possess alcohol; Public Act No. 06-115 An Act Concerning
Bullying Policies in Schools which expands the definition of bullying
and enhances schools’ obligations to tell students how to report incidents
of bullying; Public Act No. 06-60,
An Act Concerning the Unlawful Use or Possession of Scanning Devices and
Reencoders which prohibit the use of a scanner to read the information
on a computer chip to fraudulently use the payment card of another; Public Act No. 06-100, An Act
Concerning Crime Victims which will now require a pro se litigant to a
civil proceeding, convicted of a domestic violence related crime, to
obtain the court’s permission before issuing a subpoena for a crime victim
to appear and testify in the proceeding, including a deposition and will
require the Chief State’s Attorney, in consultation with the Chief Court
Administrator, to develop a plan for the establishment and implementation
of a state-wide automated victim information and notification system; and Sections 28-42 of Public Act No.
06-187, An Act Concerning General Budget and Revenue Implementation
Provisions which clarify certain provisions of Connecticut’s Sex
Offender Registry and allows the court to order a defendant to be
electronically monitored by a global positioning system as a condition of
probation or conditional discharge.
- The Victim Advocate was appointed a member to the
Interagency Task Force on Trafficking in Persons (Public Act No. 06-43, An Act Concerning Trafficking in Persons). The task force is required to implement
public awareness strategies, to identify criteria for providing victim
services and address access to rights, benefits and services for trafficking
- Section 30 of Public Act No. 06-187, An Act
Concerning General Budget and Revenue Implementation Provisions
establishes a Risk Assessment Board to develop a risk assessment scale
that assigns weights to various risk factors and specifies the risk level
to which offenders with various risk assessment scores shall be
assigned. The Victim Advocate is a
designated member of the board.
- Successfully advocated at the legislature for two
additional staff positions in the OVA.
The OVA currently has four full-time positions. In addition to the State Victim Advocate
and a Complaint Officer, the two new positions in the OVA are Investigator
and Staff Attorney.
- The Victim Advocate co-sponsored the 10th Annual Melanie Rieger
Conference Against Violence.
The Victim Advocate served as the moderator for the criminal
justice panel and on behalf of the OVA and non-for-profit victims
organizations in Connecticut,
presented a special award to Sam and Wanda Rieger for their years of
effort and accomplishments in the areas of victims’ rights and victim
services. Dr. & Mrs. Rieger are
the parents of Melanie Rieger, victim of a brutal domestic violence
homicide on May 24, 1994.
- The Victim Advocate developed and published:
“Identity Theft – A Guide for Connecticut Citizens” to help educate the
public with respect to identity theft – what is ID theft, how to avoid
becoming a victim, and what to do if you are victimized.
- The Victim Advocate was appointed to serve on the
Governor’s Identity Theft Advisory Board and the Victim Advocate has been
invited to present on the topic of identity theft to various groups and
organizations throughout the state.
- The Victim Advocate was invited by the Federal
Office for Victims of Crime and The National Institute for Justice to
serve on a working group to create a national publication, “Assisting
Victims of Identity Theft: A
Resource Guide for Victim Services.”
- The Victim Advocate made numerous public
appearances throughout the state to publicize the existence and function of
the OVA and to inform citizens about victim rights in Connecticut.
- The Victim Advocate participates on a number of
committees and commissions for the improvement of services to crime
Information Reported as Required by State Statute
The OVA has complied with all of the
requirements of all federal and state requirements regarding affirmative action
and equal opportunity.