The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda announced that the Justice Center conducted several trainings and presentations in October, as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to educate provider agencies and caregivers about incident reporting and the Justice Center’s abuse prevention initiatives, and to enhance the knowledge and skills of investigators.

The Justice Center conducted the training sessions and education and outreach presentations at locations in Albany County, Erie County, Fulton County New York City, Long Island, Monroe County, Saratoga County, and Westchester County to staff and investigators employed by both state and non-state operated service providers. Some presentations were made in conjunction with service provider agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center.

Investigative Training

The Justice Center trains investigators and law enforcement personnel on appropriate and effective methods to investigate allegations that people with special needs have been abused or neglected.

The Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) provided training in Monroe and Nassau counties to 48 investigators who work for state agencies and local providers overseen by the Justice Center.  The Justice Center also sponsored training from the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), instructing 25 attendees on how to take a victim-centered approach to investigations.  LETA also had five staff members attend the Disability Awareness Training at the New York State Police (NYSP) Academy. 

“The Justice Center works in collaboration with state oversight agencies, providers, and law enforcement to ensure officers at every level have an understanding of the unique circumstances surrounding cases involving people with special needs,” said Larry Murello, Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. 

You can view the Justice Center’s training schedule at the link here.

Education and Outreach

The Justice Center works in partnership with provider agencies and their staff in training everyone involved with the care of people with special needs about the importance of reporting abuse and neglect, and their obligations under the law.

In October, staff from the Justice Center presented at conferences and meetings hosted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, NYSARC, the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, the New York State Office of Mental Health, the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Little Flower USFD, GROW, and United Cerebral Palsy Association.

The Justice Center also sponsored the Vicarious Trauma Seminar in Hamburg.  Justice Center Executive Director Denise Miranda kicked off the event featuring keynote speaker Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, who delivered a presentation on caring for self while caring for those who have experienced trauma.

“One of the main priorities of the Justice Center is to work in collaboration with providers in helping staff understand the importance of trying to prevent abuse and neglect, and reporting it when it does happen,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention, and Support Davin Robinson.

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and to ensure that all allegations of abuse or neglect are reported and fully investigated. The Justice Center investigates, reviews and makes findings when it receives reports of abuse and neglect by staff – including employees, volunteers, interns, consultants, or contractors – against individuals who receive services.  

The Justice Center’s primary purpose and responsibility is to protect the health, safety and welfare of people with special needs who receive services or supports from state operated, certified or licensed facilities and programs. The Justice Center oversees facilities or programs operated, licensed or certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and the State Education Department (SED).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Contact: Christine Buttigieg (518) 949-5621