Legislation sponsored by Senator Declan O'Scanlon that would unify services for crime victims within the newly created Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) was signed into law today by Acting Governor Tahesha Way.
"I'm proud that this bill was signed into law today. This legislation supports law and order by giving crime victims more access to necessary resources in one location. As crime rates soar, centralizing New Jersey's efforts to provide violence intervention and prevention, and victim assistance services within one division is critically important to achieve this goal," said O'Scanlon (R-13). "Unifying services for crime victims make critical resources more accessible to communities and individuals that are seeking justice and on the path to recovery. This legislation codifies the VIVA division to bolster our legal system, improve public safety, and build stronger partnerships with law enforcement."
Currently, the State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy, Victims of Crime Compensation Office, and the New Jersey Violence Intervention Program all operate across separate divisions in the Department of Law and Public Safety. These offices provide financial resources, court accompaniment, and invest in violence reduction initiatives.
In 2022, Attorney General Matt Platkin instructed (PDF) the Department of Law and Public Safety to create the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance to centralize victim services and programs across New Jersey.
O'Scanlon's legislation, S-3086/A-4978, codifies the establishment of the VIVA division and unifies these, and other services to coordinate, administer, and monitor different programs that safeguard the rights of victims.