PATERSON, NJ - Crime victims in Paterson will soon have access to a dedicated advocate that will help connect them to vital resources in aid of their recovery, Mayor Andre Sayegh announced Wednesday.

“While we continue to focus on stopping crimes before they happen, we recognize that there is great need to support those that have been victimized,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said. “Now our police department will be able to do even more to help residents that are already overwhelmed, vulnerable, and not sure of their rights.”

Modeled after a similar program employed by the Passaic County Prosecutor, the office, which will be staffed by a full time Victim’s Rights Specialist and a part-time assistant, is being funded through a three-year $450,000 federal grant secured with the assistance of Congressman Bill Pascrell.

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“Many survivors of crime carry trauma,” Pascrell said. “Early intervention and support can help alleviate that.”

Included in the services that the office will help connect crime victims to are housing, childcare, security, and job placement. 

“This is the heart of community policing,” Pascrell, who also serves as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Law Enforcement, added.

Sayegh also said that the specialist will help crime victims “navigate the criminal justice system,” while Lt. Todd Pearl was even more direct when he said that it will help bridge the gap between “making the community safe and making them feel safe.”

Both positions will be filled early in the new year with the successful applicants immediately starting by “getting embedded in the community, building relationships, and making connections," Pearl said.