// technical writing and training

Updating Procedures and User Manuals

NYS Office of Victim Services
NYS OVS Case Study image

Established in 1966, the NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS) provides compensation and other services to innocent victims of crimes and their families including paying unreimbursed crime-related medical and funeral expenses, loss of earnings or support, and counseling costs.

Over time, the role and the mission of the agency has expanded to require that the OVS advocate for victims’ rights, needs, and interests in NYS, with a three-tiered mission:

  • Provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient, and compassionate manner
  • Fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community-based programs
  • Advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime.

OVS utilizes an Oracle database and two main applications: Claims Assistant for the lifecycle of a claim (including a Web portal for clients) and CAFinance to perform all need financial processes.

Current procedure manuals require updating and reorganization. These manuals began as application guides, but over time business rules were added so users theoretically had a single source of information. Staff was reliant on veteran staff members for knowledge because the manuals were outdated and caused a great deal of confusion and inefficiency.


OVS partnered with Documentation Strategies to review, triage, update, and organize the 1000s of pages of manuals and procedure documents for their Claims, Finance and Legal Departments. Working with OVS Subject Matter Experts, Documentation Strategies developed a methodology and plan to:

  • training on the system
  • review current manuals
  • Recommend re-structures and systematically complete each section with SME input

At the completion of the project, all manuals had been updated, consistently formatted, and available for OVS staff to reference. The OVS project was completed successfully on time and on budget.