Governor announces $6.5 million in grants administered by State Office of Children and Family Services to better assist survivors of domestic violence and support prevention initiatives
√ State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence launches domestic violence and technology public awareness campaign, will host upcoming panel discussion with leading experts
Gov. Kathy Hochul recently proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and announced $6.5 million in funding that will allow state-licensed service providers to offer survivors of domestic violence and their families with options for assistance and support, instead of relying on shelter-based services, and that will also enhance prevention programs. In addition, Hochul also highlighted a new technology safety and innovation for survivors public awareness campaign, which will be coordinated by the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) and will shine a light on technology's role in abuse.
"We have come so far since the time that my mother advocated for domestic violence survivors, but our mission to put an end to the abuse and suffering that too many have had to endure is far from over," Hochul said. "Our systems must evolve and we must continue to offer innovative solutions to meet the needs of survivors and families, wherever they are."
Administered by the state Office of Children and Family Services, the $6.5 million will support two initiatives:
√ $4.8 million to 79 service providers statewide to provide housing for domestic violence survivors.
√ $1.7 million to five nonprofit organizations that offer domestic violence prevention programs. Each of these programs will receive $342,380: Retreat Inc. in East Hampton, the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Unity House of Troy, Vera House in Syracuse and Family Justice Center of Erie County.
OPDV's new social media campaign will highlight technology's intersection with domestic violence and spread awareness on the forms of technology-assisted abuse.
The governor’s team said, “While technology provides survivors with access to information, safety planning, and allows them to connect with their support systems, abusive partners use it to cause further harm to their partners.”
In addition to the campaign on Twitter (@NYSOPDV), Facebook (@NYSdomesticviolence) and Instagram (@nysopdv), the agency will sponsor a panel discussion featuring representatives from Facebook, Apple, Norton LifeLock and experts in academia to discuss emerging risks related to technology-assisted abuse, as well as mobile advocacy and other innovations to help survivors.
Scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20, the discussion, "Balancing Technology Innovation and Safety in the Context of Gender-Based Violence," is designed for service providers, advocates and victim assistance professionals. Later this month, OPDV will also release a new publication to help survivors and advocates understand technology-assisted abuse and provide concrete tools and steps to protect privacy and safety in a digital world. The agency also launched its new website.
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Our agency is proud to administer this federal grant money to allow providers to fund concrete needs for domestic violence survivors, giving them the resources to attain safe housing. We know that providing families with support and resources is foundational to preventing domestic violence in the first place."
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, "Domestic Violence Awareness Month highlights a reality that victims and survivors endure all year long and lets them know that they are not alone. Now more than ever, technology plays an important role in how victims and survivors experience abuse, and how they access domestic violence services. This October, we're increasing awareness of technology's importance in transforming and updating service delivery to survivors statewide. We are forever thankful for Gov. Hochul's longstanding commitment and leadership on this important issue."
Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "We are so proud of the work we do at OVS to ensure that crime victims receive the support they need and to ensure that domestic violence survivors have the resources they need to find safety and thrive. I commend my state agency colleagues for their work, and Gov. Hochul for her strong leadership and advocacy on behalf of all victims and survivors of crime and their families."
New York state's domestic and sexual violence hotline is available 27/7: 800-942-6906 (call), 844-997-2121 (text) or @opdv.ny.gov (chat). Last year, the state and local hotlines received 252,535 calls for assistance.
The Office of Victim Services also funds a network of more than 212 community-based programs that provide direct services to victims of crime and their families. The programs also help any victim of crime apply for compensation and other assistance from the agency, which is a safety net for individuals who have no other resources.