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October 28, 2013

Statewide victim alert program expanding

PLATTSBURGH — A statewide domestic violence victim notification system is expanding, and it's already in place in the North Country.

A $495,000 grant given to the Sheriffs' Association Institute from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance enabled the creation of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Network (SAVIN), according to a news release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office.

The system is used to instantly notify victims, by text message, email, fax or automated phone call, when a Family Court order of protection is served.

The service runs around the clock, seven days a week.

'EXTREMELY HELPFUL'

"This order-of-protection notification will similarly be an extremely helpful tool," Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Evanovich said in an email.

For instance, offenders who are issued a "stay away" order of protection are often required to remain a certain amount of distance away from the victim, he said.

"Notification from the e-alert is helpful here, as the protected party can be sure that the offender is now aware of this provision, and even if the offender unintentionally comes near in a public place, it is on the offender to leave the area immediately — otherwise they are committing a crime."

'TIMELY NOTIFICATIONS'

"Domestic violence victims should take advantage of any and all safety measures at their disposal when in a dangerous situation,” said Gwen Wright, executive director of the state’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, in a press release.

“The time immediately following when an order of protection is served can be the most dangerous for a victim of domestic violence,” Cuomo said in the release. 

“But when armed with the technology that the SAVIN system provides, victims of domestic violence can receive timely notifications and take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from further harm."

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