Office of The Victim Advocate
At a Glance
MICHELLE S. CRUZ, J.D. State Victim Advocate
Established – 1999
Statutory authority – CGS Sec. 46a-13b et seq.
Central office – 505 Hudson Street, 5th Floor,
Hartford, CT 06106
Website address – www.ova.state.ct.us
Number of employees – 3.5
Recurring operating expenses - $377,284
Organizational structure - Independent State Agency, under the Department of Administrative Services, for administrative purposes only.
The Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA), an independent state agency, advocates for the protection and promotion of the State Constitutional rights of crime victims throughout the state of Connecticut. The OVA monitors and evaluates the delivery 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 system. The 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. Further, the OVA has a firm dedication to promoting awareness to Connecticut citizens as to the services available to crime victims through outreach, education and public service events.
The OVA monitors and evaluates the delivery of services to crime victims by state agencies and other entities that make up the victim service delivery system in the state. In fulfilling its mandate, the OVA will receive complaints from crime victims who believe their rights have been or are being violated or who believe that the services available to them as crime victims in the state are being unfairly denied or inadequately provided. OVA may also receive complaints from agencies, other institutions or individuals on behalf of crime victims. The OVA may, when appropriate, initiate an inquiry into such complaints or conduct an investigation. As an attorney, the State Victim Advocate may file a special limited appearance in any proceeding throughout the state to advocate for crime victims’ rights. The OVA conducts programs of public education as well as recommends changes in legislation and/or policy to improve the delivery of services to crime victims.
The OVA constantly strives to appropriately address the concerns brought to the attention of the OVA by crime victims and those on behalf of crime victims. The OVA frequently meets with crime victims, state agencies who provide services to crime victims and other entities to discuss the handling of particular matters that may require action by the OVA. The OVA engages in regular contact with these individuals to obtain feedback regarding the effectiveness of the OVA’s assistance on behalf of crime victims throughout the state. This feedback is invaluable in guiding the OVA to the best manner in which the OVA can continue to carry out its statutory mandates, always with an eye towards improving the quality of services available and providing a voice to crime victims. The OVA continues to provide education, outreach and training to enhance delivery of services to crime victims in Connecticut.
During its eleventh year of operation, the Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) continued to operate as a fully functional independent state agency committed to effectively and efficiently carrying out its statutory mandates. The following specific achievements in this regard are noted:
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.