2019 Issue 2




Denim Day (pictured above)

On April 24th we celebrate Denim Day, a day where people are encouraged to wear denim - to work, to school, anywhere you go - to stand up against sexual assault. Denim Day began 20 years ago when the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction based on the premise that because the victim's jeans were tight, she must have helped her attacker remove them. If you'd like to find out more about how you or your work place can participate, please visit the Denim Day 2019 website.

A Message From Our Executive Director, Reina Schiffrin:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Each April, we recognize victims of sexual assault everywhere and work to raise awareness about the systems and conditions in our culture which allow rape and sexual assault to continue. Although the counselors, advocates, attorneys and educators at VIBS work tirelessly all year round to improve the lives of those who've been victimized through sexual violence, we take time each April to reflect on and assess where we've been and where we need to go regarding the eradication of sexual violence. When the #MeToo movement went viral in October of 2017, it gave many people the support and inspiration to come forward with their own stories of abuse and trauma and begin their healing journeys. Today, VIBS looks toward building futures free of violence and is working to share this sense of hope throughout the County as we work to end sexual violence in our times.

We've been doing special work in the community to spread awareness about family violence and sexual assault this past month, in addition to planning some major events for the upcoming months. Please take a moment and have a look at what's been going on and what we've got planned for the future. We're grateful, as always, for your support and look forward to continue working together to continue to help victims of family violence and sexual assault throughout Suffolk County.

-Reina Schiffrin



VIBS participates in Suffolk Community College 'Take Back the Night' event to stop sexual assault.

College campuses around the country hold Take Back the Night Events each year to bring campus communities together to fight sexual violence on campus and beyond. VIBS' Education Department has worked closely with Suffolk County Community College to help plan this year's event. On April 12th, over 450 students, staff and faculty came together along with community members and representatives from victims services organizations throughout Suffolk County at the SCCC Grant Campus in Brentwood. 

The event this year was very special to VIBS and all those that attended as one of our survivors, a male survivor of child sexual abuse, recorded a special videotaped message which was played for the audience. He spoke about  his journey from abuse to healing and received a standing ovation from the audience when he was recognized after the video played. 

(pictured above: Judy Lukose, director of legal services at VIBS, and Woodie Pagan, bilingual legal advocate).

VIBS Legal and Advocacy Department at Touro College

Last month, VIBS’ director of legal services Judy Lukose and our blingual legal advocate Woodie Pagan presented a workshop to 2nd and 3rd year students at Touro Law School. Judy and Woodie spoke with the students about the work that VIBS does to keep victims of domestic violence safe from their abusers. Teaching students about Orders of Protection was top on their list as they helped students understand the differences in protecting a victim through family and criminal courts.

VIBS continues to lead the way in providing legal assistance and court advocacy to victims as well as educating the systems that victims interact with when they are at their most vulnerable. Training law students allows us to share our experience and expertise with future attorneys who will have a big impact on the lives of those we serve.

Crime Victims Awareness Week

VIBS commemorated National Crime Victims Awareness Week this year by hosting a community-wide event at the Congregational Church in Patchogue. our featured speaker was New York Sate Senator Monica Martinez, who successfully championed statewide Revenge Porn legislation this year.

Also speaking was Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn who spoke about the County's commitment to protecting victims of crime.

VIBS was joined by Suffolk County Police Department 5th Precinct, THRIVE Recovery Center, S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, SEPA Mujer, Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island, Bikers Against Child Abuse – L.I. Chapter, Sunshine Prevention Center, Long Island Against Human Trafficking, Hope for Youth, HRHCare Health Center, Ligia Soto-Cruz, Empire Justice Center, Community Growth Center as well as community members who came out to stand up for justice for victims of crime.

New York Times Bestselling Author Regina Calcaterra coming to VIBS

On May 6th, author of the best selling book 'Etched in Sand' will be featured at VIBS Author's Luncheon at Flowerfield in St. James. 

Ms. Calcaterra's book is a moving testament to a family's journey of moving past abuse and toward a place of healing and triumph. The sequel,"Girl Unbroken' was called "courageous and emotionally intense by Kirkus Reviews.

All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Ms. Calcaterra's 'Etched in Sand' book and there will be a special reception with the author for those who are interested.

VIBS is excited to host Ms. Calcaterra at this year's Author's Luncheon and encourages you to attend this most special event. Tickets and Sponsorships are available.

VIBS is proud to announce that we've added a LIVE CHAT feature to our confidential hotline. The chat feature is available from 9am to 9pm Monday through Thursday and till 5pm on Fridays. As always, our phone hotline rings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To access our Live Chat function, just go to the VIBS webpage and access the chat pop-up on the bottom left of the screen.

NYS Senator Jim Gaughran (NYS Senate - 5th SD) visited VIBS in March to tour our facility and speak about ways the State Government can better support victims of family violence and sexual assault. We value the opportunity to share our concerns, struggles and triumphs with our elected officials and continue to be a voice for the people we serve when working with them.


VIBS thanks Christine Banfield, Clinical Nurse Supervisor of Suffolk County's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program

When a victim of rape or sexual assault needs to go to a hospital emergency room after an attack, the SANE program provides nurses with specialized expertise to perform the exams.

Over the last two years, Christine Banfield has led the SANE medical program in her capacity as Clinical Nurse Supervisor. Her 24/7 availability to consult in “real time” provided additional support to her colleagues  during  difficult or complicated cases. Through her leadership, clinical resourcing and instruction to new trainees she has improved the patient-centered care of hundreds of  survivors and guided the next wave of  Suffolk County SANE/SAFE leaders.

During her tenure as Supervisor,  Christine was awarded certifications from the Commission for Forensic Nursing Certification of the International Association of Forensic Nurses. These  certifications, SANE-A and SANE-P, were earned after rigorous coursework and comprehensive exams and confirmed her expertise in both Adult/Adolescent and Pediatric forensic sexual assault exams.

We are grateful for Christine’s contribution to the Suffolk County SANE program and wish her well in the next step of her journey.


Our Phone Always Rings...

VIBS' 24-Hour Hotline for victims of abuse and exploitation is always available to anyone who needs information on domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse or human trafficking. Your call is always confidential and our committed staff is available around the clock to help with your concerns. If you, or someone you care about, thinks they may be a victim of abuse or exploitation, give us a call and see how we can help.


Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS) is a family violence and rape crisis center that provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and education on these issues to the overall Suffolk County community. In 2018, VIBS provided over 6,000 services for victims and their families and reached more than 10,000 participants through our education programs.  For over forty years, VIBS has been a champion in the efforts to combat domestic and sexual violence in Suffolk County. VIBS offers specialized counseling, advocacy, 24/7 confidential hotline, community education and legal representation to victims of domestic violence, rape/sexual assault, child sexual abuse, elder abuse, human trafficking, witnesses to homicide and most recently to veterans suffering from Military Sexual Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk
185 Oval Drive  | Islandia, New York 11749
6313603730 | info@vibs.org

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