Courtesy of Simotas' office
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas introduced a bill that would increase protections for survivors of domestic violence.

As New York faces reports of domestic violence increasing by 30 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas has introduced legislation to strengthen the state’s red flag law and protect survivors.

The measure would require courts to notify any individual who applies for or receives an order of protection of their ability to obtain an extreme risk protection order.

New York’s Red Flag law, enacted in 2019, empowers an individual to receive an extreme risk protection order to have law enforcement immediately remove firearms from the possession of a person posing a threat to themselves or others.

However, victims of abuse who seek orders of protection are often not aware that they have the option to apply for an extreme risk protection order, as well. This legislation would improve the effectiveness of the law by ensuring all applicants for orders of protection are informed of this additional option available for tier protection.

“Our Red Flag law is a vital tool that can prevent gun violence before senseless tragedies occur and New Yorkers should be aware that they can seek this protection,” Simotas said. “New York is facing a serious domestic violence crisis and it is critical that every survivor is informed that they can obtain an extreme risk protection order to have law enforcement proactively intervene to find and remove guns from their abuser.”

Women in domestic violence situations are five times more likely to be killed when an abusive partner has access to guns, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Extreme risk protection orders have been proven to effectively prevent crises from escalating and improve public safety.

“This life-saving measure will expand access to extreme risk protection orders reducing intimate partner abuse fatalities, mass shootings, and suicides in our state,” Simotas said.


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