March 21, 2012

Assembly Passes Legislative Package Protecting
Victims of Domestic Violence

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein today announced the passage of legislation aimed at increasing protections for victims of domestic violence.

"To help eradicate domestic violence, it is important that we focus on protecting victims and implementing measures that will prevent these types of crimes," said Silver. "Approving these measures is a critical step forward to ending the cycle of abuse and violence caused by domestic violence."

Each year, an estimated 450,000 domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement in New York. Domestic violence is a crime of enormous magnitude that affects all New Yorkers, regardless of age, race, gender or economic status-with long term and pervasive consequences for victims, families, and communities.

"My colleagues and I in the Assembly have advocated and will continue to advocate for stronger protections for victims of domestic violence," said Weinstein. "This legislative package aims to do just that by strengthening orders of protection, prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and in the area of housing, and ensuring that a domestic violence victim does not end up having to pay for the negligence of others."

Included in the package is a measure sponsored by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (A.1986-B) that would establish the crime of aggravated family offense, to create a felony-level charge for cases in which an offender is repeatedly convicted of domestic violence abuse within a five year period.

"For too long offenders have hidden behind a legal loophole, where they knew that if they did not cause serious physical harm or death they would be able to get away with repeated assault," said Assemblymember Rosenthal. "This piece of legislation will break the cycle of abuse before it is allowed to escalate, by taking repeat domestic violence offenders off the streets."

Additional legislation included in this package would: