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New Victim Advocacy Program is provided for the Cornell community

The Victim Advocacy Program, a new Cornell University service, is now available to all members of the Cornell community. The position will function under the auspices of the University Ombudsmans Office. Danilee Poppensiek will serve as the victim advocate while continuing her assistant ombudsman duties.

The program assists any member of the Cornell community who has been the victim of a crime or serious incident, regardless of the location of the crime or incident. The victim advocate's primary focus is to provide support, assistance and advocacy for victims of assault, rape, harassment or other crimes or incidents that have caused physical or mental harm.

"It provides a single place at the university where people can go to get the kind of help they need in a difficult time in their lives," Poppensiek said.

Some of the services Poppensiek offers to victims include: coordinating personal support; establishing liaisons to help with resulting academic concerns; and providing information about campus, community and other resources.

"As victim advocate, I am able to direct victims to those who can give them the kind of further help they need and are eligible to receive," Poppensiek said.

While the position functions under the auspices of the University Ombudsman's Office, Poppensiek also works with a steering committee of 16 dedicated staff, faculty and student volunteers who have collaborated during the past six months to organize and operate the new program.

The offices of Susan Murphy, vice president for Student and Academic Services, and Joycelyn Hart, associate vice president for Human Relations, are underwriting the program.

The victim advocate is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and can be reached by telephone at 255- 1212, for walk-in assistance at 118 Stimson Hall or through e-mail at victimadvocate@cornell.edu.

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