A recent legislative package passed by the New York State Assembly is seeking to increase the amount of protections available to domestic violence victims.
“We need to both support and protect victims of domestic violence,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “We also must protect children from exposure to and involvement in domestic violence situations.”
Two of the bills address discrimination against domestic violence victims. Bill A3448 seeks to prevent housing discrimination while workplace discrimination will be prevented through bill A2348.
“This legislation would help support the victims of domestic violence by ensuring they have access to two of the most important resources – stable housing and employment,” Silver said.
Several other bills were also included in the legislative package.
As part of another measure, when orders of protection are being issued during criminal and family court proceedings, judges must find out if the defendant or respondent possess a firearm. In addition, the order of protection’s “essential terms” will be translated into the native language of involved parties and their expiration dates will be clarified.
If a person is “found liable for failing to obey or enforce” the order of protection, victims will be able to seek non-economic or economic damages.
The definition of domestic violence will be expanded to include “the crimes of stalking, strangulation and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.”
According to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, in 2010 there were 75 family-related homicides through the city, which included 15 in Queens. Of the 75 incidents, there had been no police contact in 77 percent of them, and in 96 percent there was no current order of protection.
In July of 2005, the city opened the Family Justice Center of Queens at 126-02 82nd Street in Kew Gardens to assist domestic violence victims. From its opening through the end of 2010, the center has seen more than 38,000 new clients.
Victims of domestic violence can call 3-1-1 or the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-4673 for assistance.