Our News

December 9, 2020

VIBS Receives $20,000 from the Long Island Community Foundation to Support Veterans and their Families

[ISLANDIA, NY] VIBS is pleased to announce it has received a $20,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF). These funds will support the Veteran’s Counseling Program, which provides free counseling and support services to veterans and their families.

VIBS’ Veteran’s Counseling Program provides services regardless of discharge status to increase overall mental health and well-being in veterans and to give all veterans and their families access to trauma-informed counseling. Veterans and family members can receive assistance with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and other issues related to abuse and assault.

The funding will be used to increase outreach to veterans and their families and to create partnerships with organizations that offer related services. Goals for the funding initiative include providing group counseling for veterans, increasing the number of individual counseling sessions available to veterans, and collaborating with Student Veterans of America (SVA) programs at local colleges to create sources of support and a wider referral network.

Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director for VIBS stated, “We are grateful for the generous support of LICF that will enable VIBS to continue to provide needed services to Veterans residing in Suffolk County during these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever that Veterans who have experienced violence and abuse any time in their lives have a place to turn to for free and confidential counseling in person or virtually by compassionate and experienced professionals.”

LICF awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. VIBS is actively involved in seeking as many grant opportunities as possible to provide free and confidential services for all those experiencing violence and abuse in Suffolk County.

Contact: Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director
VIBS Family Violence & Rape Crisis Center
Office: (631) 360-3730 | 24/7 Hotline: (631) 360-3606 |  rschiffrin@vibs.org  |  www.VIBS.org


October 13, 2020   

VIBS Receives $700K Grant to Address Suffolk County Opioid Crisis:
“Enhancing Community Responses to America’s Addiction Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims”

[ISLANDIA, NY] On October 8, VIBS was awarded a $700K, three-year grant awarded by the Office of Justice Programs that will assist in better identifying and providing services to children and youth in Suffolk County (ages 0-18) struggling with opioid addiction and/or suffering from opioid-related issues. With EAC Network as the sub-recipient of the award, both will work together on important deliverables in Suffolk County. Suffolk County is currently in the list of top ten counties with highest impact from the opioid crisis across NYS.

In collaboration with Suffolk County Department of Social Services, VIBS will provide much-needed services while also strengthening community connections and making progress that will be reported annually. Services that will be provided to affected individuals include trauma-informed counseling, case management, legal services and court advocacy. VIBS will also utilize its 24/7 Crisis Hotline (631-360-3606) and expand its Community Education services by developing and delivering trainings about project services.

“We are honored to receive this award and expand our services and our work in the community at a time when so many are facing struggles and are in need,” stated Reina Schiffrin, VIBS Executive Director (ED) who will oversee the project and service delivery.

VIBS, an active member of the Suffolk County Task Force to Prevent Family Violence, is grateful to have been given this incredibly important funding to assist children, youth and teens affected by the opioid epidemic. 

Contact: Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director
VIBS Family Violence & Rape Crisis Center
Office: (631) 360-3730 | 24/7 Hotline: (631) 360-3606 |  rschiffrin@vibs.org  |  www.VIBS.org  



Islandia, NY – On September 22, 2020, Americans will celebrate National Voter Registration Day with a massive cross-country effort to register voters well in advance of Election Day this November.

With a historic presidential election approaching, every eligible American voter should exercise his or her right to be heard at the ballot box, and National Voter Registration Day is the right day to start by getting registered. Therefore communities across the country are planning to use National Voter Registration Day to increase voter participation.

Thousands of national, state, and local organizations and volunteers will be the driving force behind National Voter Registration Day 2020. Partner organizations will coordinate hundreds of National Voter Registration Day events on and offline nationwide, and leverage #NationalVoterRegistrationDay in all social media platforms to drive attention to voter registration.

VIBS Family Violence & Rape Crisis Center is proud to be a National Voter Registration Day partner. On September 22, VIBS will engage its community and register voters at:

3 to 5 p.m. – VIBS Parking Lot, 185 Oval Drive, Islandia NY 11749 

Masks and social distancing are required to attend. Bilingual assistance available. VIBS will also be providing paper absentee ballot applications as well as special ballot applications for survivors of domestic violence. A representative from the U.S. Census will be present as well.

Visit National Voter Registration Day website



Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director at VIBS and Michele Knapp, IGHL Board Member were recently invited to take part in a podcast entitled A Passion for Giving with Peter J. Klein, Chief Investment Officer and Founder of Aline Wealth, to speak about VIBS and our response to the uptick in domestic violence and abuse during the pandemic.
Click link below to listen 
to the interview on Apple Podcasts.



On Wednesday, July 8, 2020 VIBS received the Cerini and Associates Social Impact Award for outstanding work done in the community, for clients, and for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The award winner was announced live as part of the Virtual 2020 Long Island Imagine Awards and included six total categories to recognize excellence in nonprofits. The Long Island Imagine Awards was created to offer formal acknowledgement to some of Long Island’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations. Last year’s event attracted over 400 attendees from the nonprofit and business communities and an even larger crowd is expected this year.

About The Imagine Awards

The Imagine Awards was created in 2012 by Managing Partner, Ken Cerini of Cerini & Associates, LLP.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Imagine Awards recognize outstanding performances in the Long Island Community.  Learn more about the Imagine Awards, visit http://www.ceriniandassociates.com/imagine-awards.

“At VIBS, every client matters. We support people with their transformation from victim to survivor and we are truly honored and grateful to be the recipient of this award” stated Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director of VIBS.

Click the video below to see the panel discussion of all 2020 Imagine Awards recipients,
including VIBS Executive Director, Reina Schiffrin

Click to view YouTube video about the panel discussion of all 2020 Imagine Awards recipients, including VIBS Executive Director, Reina Schiffrin

Click button below to see the VIBS Imagine Awards video.

Click to view YouTube video about the VIBS Imagine Awards


(NY Council of Nonprofits, Inc.)

Over 700 nonprofits across New York State (including VIBS) signed a joint letter to the Governor about the critical role nonprofits play in the COVID-19 recovery relief.

Human service organizations are a key component to a successful COVID-19 recovery. This pandemic is human-centered, and the services these nonprofits provide are keeping New Yorkers alive. These services will continue to be necessary as people weather the economic fallout in the coming year. The State has ignored the vital role these nonprofits play, which is not just an oversight, but will hinder New York’s ability to recover.

We need the state to work with us to develop a plan that ensures a fair and equitable recovery for all New Yorkers. • The State has not engaged nonprofits sector-wide, outside of hospitals and higher education, in how to respond to COVID-19. The state and nonprofits must work together to mitigate the looming economic crisis. Community-based nonprofits matter to our communities, and to our statewide recovery, and we can no longer be forced to the sidelines.


VIBS’ Statement on George Floyd’s Death
For Justice. For Peace.


“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”  -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As an organization that seeks to create futures free of violence, VIBS Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center stands in solidarity with all who are mourning George Floyd — as well as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others who lost their lives due to senseless acts of hatred, bias, racism and cruelty. People of color have been subject to oppression and hate crimes for hundreds of years, and as an organization that opposes all forms of abuse, we pledge to address the need for true systematic change and continue our mission — whether that be violence by a domestic abuser or violence rooted by institutional racism and power.

To meet violence with violence dishonors the core tenets of the civil rights movement, and results in destruction of the very people and neighborhoods that have already suffered too much. Every violent act plays right into the hands of those who would deny our common humanity, as it changes the dialogue from justice to order.

No lasting progress is achieved alone. VIBS thanks and supports all advocates and partners, both locally and globally, for their efforts to dismantle structural racism and discrimination that underlie police abuse of force and so many other forms of wrongfully condoned violence. It is way past time to address the intersection of all forms of oppression and to recognize the power that lies within determination and unity. Together we can seek equality and social justice for all members of our community. Together we can stand up against the continuation of racism in our words, actions and structural systems. Together we grieve with the families who are mourning the death of their loved ones who have lost their lives unfairly.

At VIBS we will never discriminate against a survivor who is in need of our services. All of our programs are free and available for people of all races, genders and backgrounds. We are dedicated to the community that we serve and remain committed to the power of nonviolence.


VIBS Responds to new Title IX Regulations

New Title IX Rules Released Cause Discouragement for Survivors  

[ISLANDIA, NY, May 21] – The Department of Education has announced its final regulations governing campus sexual violence allegations that shift the burden to the student filing a complaint and limit survivors’ access to a violence-free education. The new rule, which is scheduled to take effect on August 14, 2020, seeks a reduction in Title IX investigations, making it hard for victims of sexual harassment to come forward, requiring schools to ignore many instances when survivors do ask for help, and denying fair treatment to victims when they try to use a system that is supposed to protect them.

“While the rule includes important provisions that promote fair process, it falls short in protecting students’ access to education,” noted Taryn Kutujian, Community Education Manager at Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk, Inc. (VIBS).

As an organization dedicated to creating futures free of violence, VIBS does not support regulations that undermine the purpose of Title IX and NY’s Enough is Enough law. We believe the new Title IX rules will make students feel less safe overall. These new regulations pose many problematic components — including unfair investigation and hearing procedures; the mistreatment of victims by failing to provide meaningful support to survivors; no notice of religious exemptions, which can be especially harmful for women, girls and the LGBTQ+ community; and a higher standard of proof for sexual assault and harassment cases.

“Survivors should not have to worry about important protections offered under Title IX being retracted — especially during a global pandemic. Victims should instead be supported and offered the protections and resources they need,” stated Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director of VIBS.

The new rule ignores the fact that Title IX is a civil rights law, not a criminal law. Individuals who may be wondering whether their situation falls under Title IX can request a free consultation with VIBS Legal Services Department by calling (631) 360-3730.

The National Women’s Law Center has created a fact sheet with more information about the new regulations. It can be found by visiting NWLC.org. Additional resources related to Title IX can be found by visiting health.ny.gov/prevention/sexual_violence/ and nysed.gov.


If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Taryn Kutujian at (631) 360-3730 or email tkutujian@vibs.org.

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