March 29, 2011

Assembly Passes Domestic Violence Legislation
Package protects victims from discrimination, provides privacy and bans convicted abusers from owning or possessing a firearm

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein today announced the passage of legislation aimed to better protect victims of domestic violence.

The legislative package includes bills that prohibit discriminatory practices against victims of domestic violence in regards to housing (A.3448-A/Destito) and in the workplace (A.2348-A/Weinstein).

"We need to both support and protect victims of domestic violence," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "We also must protect children from exposure to and involvement in domestic violence situations. This legislation would help to support the victims of domestic violence by ensuring they have access to two of the most important resources: stable housing and employment."

This package also requires judges in criminal and family court proceedings to inquire as to the possession of a firearm by the defendant or respondent when an order of protection is issued (A.2494-A/O'Donnell).

"Forty four percent of female homicides are committed by an intimate partner and firearms are used in almost thirty percent of domestic homicides involving an intimate partner," said Weinstein (D-Brooklyn). "By keeping firearms out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence, we will save lives."

Other bills in this legislative package would:
  1. Updates the definition of domestic violence in the social services law to include conduct that constitutes a family offense including the crimes of stalking, strangulation and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. (A.627/Weinstein);

  2. Permit victims to recover damages from those found liable for failing to obey or enforce an order of protection (A.2350/Weinstein);

  3. Require court appointed interpreters to translate on the record essential terms of an order of protection issued in criminal or family court into the native language of the parties (A.6113/Weinstein); and

  4. Provide clarification to determine the expiration date of an order of protection for family offenses (A.88/Paulin).