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KEEPING WESTCHESTER SAFE

Image of top half of brochure about child abuse is a crimeProtecting the children of our community

Child abuse comes in many forms: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. If you suspect a childs is the victim of abuse or maltreatment, read how you can help.

 

image of Report Hate Crime textDon't let fear stop you from reporting a crime

All crime is illegal. But hate crimes are deeply troubling since they also propogate hatred and bigotry that targets a specific group within a community. Read more about hate crimes.

 

image of the Legal Drinking Age PlacardThe alcohol age calculator sign should be displayed by licensed alcohol purveyors in Westchester County.

Download and print the sign.

 

Office of Victims ServicesThe New York State Office of Victim Services provides substantial financial relief to victims of crime and their families by paying unreimbursed crime-related expenses, including but not limited to: medical and funeral expenses, loss of earnings or support, counseling costs, crime scene clean-up expenses, the cost to repair or replace items of essential personal property, reasonable and necessary court transportation expenses, assistance to crime victims acting as a good Samaritan, the cost of residing at or utilizing the services of a domestic violence shelter, and limited attorney fees.

Download a copy of their booklet outlining how you can most benefit from a pending criminal matter.

The Westchester County Office of the District Attorney’s Child Abuse Bureau handles investigations and prosecutions of crimes against children. Assistant District Attorneys in the Child Abuse Bureau investigate and prosecute allegations of sexual and physical abuse of children age 16 and under. Our mission is to investigate thoroughly all allegations of abuse to ensure the safety and welfare of children in Westchester County. We investigate and prosecute these offenders, where appropriate, to obtain justice for the victims of abuse and prevent future harm to other children. Prosecutors in the Child Abuse Bureau have specialized training on the best practice to forensically interview children and continue to receive training to enhance their skills. A case is individually assigned to an ADA who handles the case from beginning to end so that children and their families can be as comfortable as possible throughout the duration of the investigation and prosecution.

The Child Abuse Bureau is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in White Plains directly across from the Westchester County Courthouse. The Child Abuse Bureau is located within the Special Prosecutions Division and has a child-friendly waiting area where children can play and families can be at ease in our office. We have social services staff on site, including a trauma specialist and members of the victim’s justice center who help children feel comfortable and ensure that both parents and children understand the criminal justice process and get the services that they need. Referrals are available for individual counseling, family counseling and medical treatment. There is an Assistant District Attorney from this Bureau on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Child Advocacy Center
Once a report of suspected child abuse is received, most children are seen at the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), located at the Westchester Institute for Human Development on the site of the Westchester Medical Center Campus. At the center, specially trained forensic interviewers, a forensic pediatrician who is an expert in identifying and treating child abuse, members of the Department of Social Services, Victims Assistance Services, prosecutors from the Child Abuse Unit and members of local law enforcement all work together as a team in a child-friendly center to promote an effective and coordinated response to child abuse while minimizing the trauma to child victims. The CAC allows for an immediate forensic interview of the child, a medical evaluation and provides victim services to ensure that the child and their family receive the emotional support that they need. The CAC is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be opened  for an emergency case overnight and on weekends.

Reporting Child Abuse
Child Abuse is a very sad, difficult and emotional event for a child and family to go through. However, often child victims and their families are afraid or embarrassed to report the abuse, out of concern for another family member or a concern for their own privacy. Reporting the physical or sexual abuse is always the right thing to do. Reporting the abuse can hopefully stop it from continuing and protect other potential victims from being abused.

  • In case of an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you suspect a child is the victim of abuse or maltreatment, call the New York State Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 342-3720.
  • Mandated reporters:
  • include doctors, nurses, medical providers, therapists, social workers, mental health providers, teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, daycare workers, and law enforcement personnel.
  • must make reports when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child before them in their official capacity is an abused or maltreated child.
  • should call the New York State Central Registry at (800) 635-1522.

The Child Abuse Bureau is located in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. The phone number is (914) 995-3000.

There are a number of ways to report a crime.

Reporting a non-emergency
If you have information about past or ongoing criminal activity that is not of an emergency nature, you are encouraged to call your local police department through their non-emergency phone number. Remember, if it is not an emergency, do not call 911. This does not mean the crime is not important – it just helps the police to make the best use of their resources.

Examples of non-emergency calls

  • Reporting a crime with no suspect
  • Reporting a crime with a suspect, but the suspect is not on the scene
  • Non-emergency in progress (noisy party, drug use, etc.)
  • Ongoing crime issues (graffiti, ongoing drug dealing, etc.)

When you should call 911?
Call 911 when there is an emergency and lives are in danger. You should also call 911 when there is serious injury, a serious medical condition, a crime is in progress, or any other situation requiring immediate attention.
What should you do if you see a crime occurring?

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Be observant and make mental notes. Are there any weapons involved? What is the address?
  • You should note any physical characteristics such as height, weight, race, beard or scars.
  • Try to remember clothing descriptions.
  • Note how many people are involved.
  • Make sure you tell the police if the persons involved are on foot or in a vehicle. If possible, what is the make and model of the vehicle?

Anonymously reporting a crime
If you wish to report a crime anonymously, you may use tip411, a Web-tip program that allows anyone with either a smartphone, tablet, standard cell phone or computer to send an anonymous text, photo or video to their local police department.

An app is available for both Android and iPhone devices (Google Play Store and iTunes Store: WC Crimetips) so that a tipster can contact their local police department in Westchester County with the police able to respond back, creating a two-way "chat."

What tip411 does

  • Protects the anonymity of the sender by assigning a six-digit code with numbers and letters.
  • The technology removes all identifying information before the police department sees it so there's no way to identify the sender.
  • Messages can be responded to in real time creating an instant two-way live "chat."
  • It allows you to text photos and/or video.
  • Since police are familiar with the local area they know the best questions to ask.
  • It allows the public to text information about drug activity, other suspicious or criminal activity people with outstanding warrants and cold cases.
  • If it's an active case, the tip is treated as one piece of information and detectives do other work to verify the validity of the tip.
  • Tips stored on redundant servers in different locations nationwide that are managed by the vendor.

What tip411 does not do

  • It doesn't track the identity of the tipster.
  • It is not a substitute for calling 911. If you need police or other emergency responders you still should call 911.
  • It does not retain data after the tipster completes the "chat".