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NYS Assembly minority conference announces release of 'A Safe Haven: Helping Abuse Victims and Enhancing Protections' report

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Fri, Feb 2nd 2018 06:10 pm
Report result of statewide tour on the domestic violence crisis facing New York
Last fall, members of the New York State Assembly minority conference hosted a series of regional forums, including an event in Niagara Falls, to provide an outlet for victims of domestic abuse, their advocates and law enforcement to discuss ways to prevent in-home violence and effectively support those who have suffered from its traumatic impact. As a result of the forums, the task force on preventing domestic violence released its report, "A Safe Haven: Helping Abuse Victims and Enhancing Protections."
"As lawmakers, protecting New Yorkers is paramount. Introducing these legislative solutions will help mitigate the substantial impact of domestic violence and is a firm demonstration of our commitment to those vulnerable to violence," said Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio of Gowanda, task force chairman. "Hearing the heartbreaking stories of the victims was eye-opening and highlights the need for an immediate and swift remedy to domestic violence. It is my hope the full Legislature makes addressing domestic violence a priority this year."
The Assembly minority conference will introduce a comprehensive package of bills and offer a number of solutions to address the issues facing victims of domestic violence and their families; law enforcement and the criminal justice system; and victim advocates and service providers, including:
•Creating a new statute in the penal law, based on the hate crime statute that presently exists, which would designate an enhanced domestic violence crime;
•Creating a new "domestic violence in the presence of a child" crime;
•Creating a standardized warning process for the court or agency serving an order of protection;
•Permitting courts to award temporary spousal support when issuing a temporary order of protection;
•Increasing access to temporary housing for victims of domestic violence;
•Expanding the current Family Justice Center model and creating a fully funded, state-based program that will allow counties in every region of the state to open domestic violence crisis centers to ensure safe support services are more accessible to victims;
•Creating a statewide education campaign to promote healthy relationships and inform students of the warning signs of domestic violence; and
•Prioritizing funding for programs aimed at providing shelter, benefits and training for victims and advocates.
"The statistics on domestic violence paint a troubling picture in New York, with each incident impacting countless families and loved ones with devastating effects," said Assemblyman Raymond Walter of Amherst. "This task force started a much-needed dialogue with victims and their advocates, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Together, we can more effectively provide measures that ensure survivors have the support they need and abusers are held accountable."
"For years, as the assigned domestic violence Niagara Falls City Court judge, I saw firsthand the destruction that domestic violence causes in families, schools and our communities," said Assemblyman Angelo Morinello of Niagara Falls. "As a result of the statewide forums, I am confident that the feedback we received will greatly increase our opportunities to help victims and their families by providing comprehensive support programs, and make our communities safer by providing law enforcement and the court system with the most up-to-date information available so they are prepared to manage these extremely difficult, and often times violent, situations."
"Preventing and ending domestic violence has become an issue that is close to my heart. Too many victims and children are being exposed to this violence, and it must come to a stop," said Assemblyman Mike Norris of Lockport. "I am very proud of the work of this task force and my colleagues, and we will continue working to increase resources to victims and survivors and to help raise awareness so that every New Yorker has a safe place to call home."
The forums were held in Glenville, Port Jervis, Batavia, Niagara Falls and Long Island. The report can be viewed via this link. For additional copies of the report, contact the Assembly minority office of public affairs at 518-455-5073.

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