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The Crime Victim Assistance Program Team Brings Over 50 Years of Combined Experience to Victims Services

December 6, 2016

In September 2016, Safe Horizon, together with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), launched the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP). CVAP was modeled after our Domestic Violence Police Program (DVPP); a 30-year partnership with the NYPD that placed Advocates specializing in helping domestic violence victims alongside police officers. The Crime Victim Assistance Program has expanded DVPP services by providing two compassionate Advocates who explain and help all crime victims navigate the criminal justice process; address safety concerns; explore options; and connect to other services.

The pioneering leadership responsible for this groundbreaking collaboration have over fifty years of combined experience working directly with victims as well as law enforcement. We are proud to introduce the Crime Victim Assistance Program team whose expertise has shaped the development of the program:

Maureen Curtis, Vice President of Criminal Justice Programs

Maureen Curtis Associate Vice President, Criminal Justice Programs at Safe Horizon Crime Victim Assistance Program

I started my career in 1987 as an Advocate working in the 52nd precinct–one of the first three DVPP precincts–and led its expansion over the next 30 years. DVPP was, and continues to be through CVAP, a game changer in victim services. No other program has impacted the landscape of victim services and police response as this program has over the years–not only impacting victims’ lives directly, but laws and policies that impact thousands of victims citywide. To see DVPP go citywide through CVAP, and place a second advocate working with all victims of crime, is truly a dream come true for me. THANK YOU to all the DVPP Advocates, police officers and supervisors who paved the way to make CVAP a reality!

Maureen Curtis is responsible for developing and overseeing Safe Horizon’s Criminal Justice Programs with a staff of more than 150 in 40 locations city-wide and a budget of ten million dollars. She has worked for more than 30 years in the field of victimization and has extensive knowledge of victims’ rights within the criminal justice and housing systems. Her work with senior level staff in the NYPD and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has led to changes in policies that impact victims citywide. Maureen has designed and provided training for law enforcement and community members on the topics of victim safety, offender accountability, housing options, and the criminal justice response to domestic violence. Maureen also helped victims of the September 11th attacks by providing trauma-informed, supportive services and help with navigating various government systems.

Maureen has been instrumental in creating and introducing a new practice for Safe Horizon staff in their work with clients. She has led the training for supervisors in implementing client-centered-practice and continues to provide support and guidance to help staff develop their skills and enhance their knowledge. Maureen also worked for the Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Accountability Program (DVAP) as a facilitator and program supervisor. She participates in various committees and sits on the Monroe College Criminal Justice Advisory Board. Maureen is a licensed social worker and also holds a Master’s in Public Health.

Wanda Lucibello, Associate Vice President, Crime Victim Assistance Program

Wanda Lucibello, Associate Vice President of Crime Victim Assistance Program As a former special victims prosecutor, I learned first-hand that no single entity – police, prosecutors, advocates – could do this work alone. CVAP is a large scale partnership between the largest not-for-profit victim services agency in the country and the largest police department in the country. By working together with NYPD, CVAP will provide a model for other cities and locales to replicate. CVAP will break down barriers and pave the way for victims and their children to truly become survivors, and as the First Lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray said, “thrivers”. I am proud to be embarking on this journey!

Wanda Lucibello, Esq., worked at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office since 1981. Before joining Safe Horizon, Wanda was the chief of the Special Victims Division that was comprised of the Domestic Violence Bureau, Victims Services Unit, and Elder Abuse Unit. In this role she managed and advised more than 100 professionals, including lawyers, paralegals and advocates.

Wanda’s extensive experience working with survivors enabled her to understand that victims needed more than just a criminal justice response. She was instrumental in the launch of the Brooklyn Family Justice Center in 2005; the development of the Brooklyn Early Victim Engagement (EVE) program; and the management of the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative. In each of these efforts, Wanda has worked closely with Safe Horizon staff and other non-profit partners to promote effective, interdisciplinary responses to the needs of survivors, and she is widely known for her collaborative and victim-centered approach. Now she is part of leading the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which will bring these critical services to survivors of violence.

Kimberlina Kavern, Senior Director, Crime Victim Assistance Program

Kimberlina Kavern, Senior Director of Crime Victim Assistance Program I have spent over ten years at Safe Horizon working within the criminal justice system, both in precincts and in court settings. I am a firm believer that victims of crime are best served when the criminal justice response is partnered closely with victim services. Through CVAP, Safe Horizon will be able to reach more victims and provide individualized, client-centered services to enhance their safety.

Kimberlina Kavern has worked at Safe Horizon for ten years in increasingly responsible roles. She began her career as a case manager in the Domestic Violence Police Program (DVPP) 120th precinct; served as senior case manager in the Staten Island Integrated Domestic Violence Court; became the director of the Staten Island Court Programs; and has also worked as the Safe Horizon chief of staff. She most recently held the position of director for the Bronx Family Court Program, supervising a staff of seven and managing the Reception Center, Children’s Center and Supervised Visitation Program.

Kim is a certified rape survivor advocate and a mediator and mentor with the New York Peace Institute. She has co-chaired several committees, including the Safe Horizon Vicarious Trauma work group. Kim speaks and provides trainings on topics including intimate partner violence, housing, the criminal justice system, sexual assault, and child abuse. She was the trainer for both court clerks and advocate groups statewide on the new Family Court Online Advocate Assisted Family Offense Petition Program, which piloted in Bronx Family Court in March 2013. Kim’s experience working directly with survivors of violence in a law enforcement setting enables her to provide significant leadership in expanding services to victims of violence.

More About the Crime Victim Assistance Program

The Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) assigns two specially-trained Advocates to precincts throughout the five boroughs of New York City. One advocate is devoted solely to helping victims of domestic violence while the other advocate offers assistance to individuals who have been victims of any other offense including robbery, assault, identity theft, trafficking, and harassment.

These specially-trained Advocates will review police reports and reach out to victims to offer assistance; meet with victims who come to the precinct looking for help; and conduct home visits with police officers. The Advocates have a general understanding of all victimizations; an understanding of trauma and its impact on victims; knowledge of the dynamics of domestic violence and other specialized crimes; and knowledge of options and available resources. They are skilled in helping victims navigate the criminal justice system and addressing any barriers that victims may face in accessing services. This approach of providing an immediate response after a crime has occurred can help to mitigate the trauma a victim may have experienced, leading to a quicker recovery.

CVAP is a cornerstone of New York City’s efforts to improve its response to victims of crime. Implemented by the NYPD and Safe Horizon, and supported by the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC, CVAP provides supportive counseling, connections to individual or group therapy, and help to navigate the legal and financial challenges that can emerge after a crime has occurred.

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