Illuminations coincide with national 'Wear Purple Day'
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced properties and landmarks across New York will be illuminated purple this evening to mark "Wear Purple Day," a national initiative to raise awareness of domestic violence. The Gov. Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, home to the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, also has been illuminated all week for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"With this action, we shine a light on the plague of domestic violence in a show of support for survivors and their families," Cuomo said. "The unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the sense of isolation faced by survivors, but New York will continue the fight to bring domestic abusers to justice and protect the most vulnerable among us."
Cuomo directed numerous state properties and landmarks be illuminated in purple tonight to mark "Wear Purple Day" and raise awareness across the state. Those locations include:
"Domestic violence has been a personal issue for me, with my mother being an advocate for victims and creating a transitional home for survivors – long before it was discussed and addressed publicly," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "We have made great strides since then, but there is still much work to be done to help ensure that victims are protected, survivors are supported, and families have the resources they need to live safe, peaceful and healthy lives. I am proud to help put the spotlight on this issue as part of our efforts in leading the way and making New York state a safer, better place for our residents and families."
"In New York, we are proud to stand tall in the fight to increase awareness of domestic violence, while also taking the actions necessary to ensure that victims, survivors and families receive the support they need to break free from abuse and rebuild their lives," Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls Melissa DeRosa said. "New York state had already begun to overhaul domestic violence services for a more survivor-centered approach that recognizes each individual's needs are different, and services should be flexible to meet victims and survivors where they stand. The COVID-19 pandemic made it even clearer how important it is to reimagine and modernize the approaches used to help survivors and their families. As a result, we have cut red tape and are creating new systems to ensure long-term, effective results."
Last week, Cuomo announced the launch of 10 domestic violence regional councils, coordinated by the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, to provide valuable insight from a wide array of domestic violence stakeholders and experts who are helping transform and modernize delivery of services to victims, survivors and their families across New York. The councils and a new "Survivor Choices, Survivor Voices," public awareness campaign build upon the work of the 2019 domestic violence task force and the COVID-19 domestic violence task force, both convened by Cuomo with the goal of transforming how services are provided, as well as identifying and addressing barriers to access resulting from the global pandemic.
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, "Wearing purple today is more important than ever in a year with increased need for domestic violence services due to COVID-19. We hope you keep focus on survivors' needs throughout the entire year and we thank Gov. Cuomo for his continued commitment to domestic violence awareness and prevention and for shining the light on survivors."
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Illuminating New York state landmarks in recognition of the impact that domestic violence victims and their children face reminds us that, although victims may experience isolation, abuse and trauma, domestic violence programs serve as a beacon of hope to help victims transform into resilient survivors. We're proud to be a part of an administration responsive to the changing needs of domestic violence victims, especially during these unprecedented times."
Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "No one should suffer from crime and those who do can be sure that New York state stands by them with resources available to help them heal and rebuild their lives. I'm proud to join this administration's efforts to increase awareness about domestic violence and to expand the availability of programs and resources to help those who have suffered from the scourge of domestic violence."
In 2019, there were more than 28,000 cases of assault by intimate partners in counties outside of the five boroughs with more than 237,000 orders of protection entered into the Order of Protection Registry. Domestic violence hotlines in New York received more than 320,000 contacts. The state provided residential services to nearly 12,800 adults and children fleeing domestic violence and provided non-residential services to more than 40,000 people last year.
OPDV's public awareness campaign, "Survivor Voices, Survivor Choices" "recognizes that first person narratives are integral to New York's efforts to move toward more survivor-centered services and provides a platform for survivor stories on Facebook and Instagram. Survivors who would like to share their stories can do so by contacting [email protected]. Contributors can share their stories – about red flags, experiencing abuse, how they escaped, where they found support and how they are healing – to provide insight for prevention, as well as hope. Personal stories also help educate the public.
New Yorkers are encouraged to wear purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Day, share photos and tag them with #PurpleThursday, #DVAM2020, #DomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth #NYGoesPurple4DV.
Cuomo also declared October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New York, announcing New Yorkers' “unequivocal support to victims of domestic violence and the public and private organizations that support them, while sending a clear message to abusers that such crimes will never be tolerated.”
In addition to actions taken during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, New York has acted to ensure that victims, survivors and families receive the support and services they need. That includes expanding the definition of domestic violence so more people can access services, allowing victims and survivors to seek compensation for economic damages and hold offenders accountable, and allowing those affected by domestic violence to terminate a lease without an order of protection.
New York state's domestic and sexual violence hotline can be reached at 1-800-942-6906, or text 844-997-2121, or chat @opdv.ny.gov. For a listing of domestic violence hotlines by county, go to the New York State Domestic Violence Directory. The Office of Victim Services also funds a network of more than 200 community-based programs that support victims of crime and their families.