By Mark Hallum
A pair of state senators from Queens has allocated funds to the Queens District Attorney’s Office to support crime victims with special needs, such as children, the elderly and immigrants.
Sens. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) earmarked $150,000 to fund the DA’s Elder Fraud Unit, Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Child Advocacy Center. Criticism of the two elected officials intensified over the winter as Peralta joined Avella in the Independent Democratic Committee, a band of breakaway Democrats willing to negotiate with Republicans, who held a majority until March, in order to pass legislation.
“Now more than ever our legal system needs to do all it can to protect the most vulnerable of New Yorkers,” Avella said. “This allocation will protect children, immigrants and seniors, some of the most targeted populations in our city. I am proud that Sen. Peralta and I are able to provide this money to protect our fellow Queens residents and am looking forward to all the positive work DA (Richard) Brown can do with this funding.”
The Office of Immigrant Affairs works to deliver vital legal services for the emigre communities of Queens, which often lack representation in the justice system. It also does community outreach while cooperating with city and state agencies.
“The Queens County District Attorney’s Office does remarkable, proactive work protecting the most vulnerable crime victims in the borough,” Peralta said. “With public safety at the top of his priority list, these funds will help District Attorney Richard Brown combat unscrupulous people who prey on children, immigrants and the elderly. And under the current political landscape, it is imperative we protect our immigrants to ensure that they can confidently go to a place to seek assistance in case they have been victimized.”
The Queens Child Advocacy Center provides protection and medical assistance to families and children affected by physical and sexual abuse through a highly specialized staff.
“A society is measured by how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among its people,” Brown said. “In Queens County, we have long strived to protect those especially vulnerable to deception, fraud and abuse – the children, the elderly and our immigrant communities.”
The DA’s office has a staff of assistant district attorneys to work with social workers and elderly individuals who have been the victims of crime, especially fraud and financial exploitation. The DA engages in public outreach to inform seniors of their options if they have been victimized.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall