Gabryszak: Legislation Gives Domestic Violence Victims Added Protection
March 16, 2010

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D Cheektowaga) announced the Assembly passed legislation that would protect victims of domestic violence, giving them vital resources to keep them safe and maintain a healthy life.

“The crime of domestic violence is one that I take very seriously; it is not only physically painful but even worse is the psychological toll it takes on victims,” Gabryszak said. “The package passed yesterday would help bring a sense of security to victims. It includes good legislation that provides increased protection and offers victims valuable resources to help them through such a devastating time.”

Legislation that passed includes a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against victims of domestic violence victims or stalking committed by a member of the same family or household. This legislation would also include a right for the domestic violence victim to receive reasonable unpaid leave from the employer to deal with legal and medical issues relating to the domestic incident (A.9018A).

In the package that passed, Assemblyman Gabryszak sponsored legislation that would permit victims of domestic violence to cast a special paper ballot (similar to absentee ballots) in elections rather than being required to appear at the polling place where their abuser might be able to stalk them (A.3910-A).

“There are over 5,000 reports of domestic violence a year in Western New York . These measures go a long way in providing much needed financial and privacy protections for victims,” Gabryszak said.

Other legislation passed by the Assembly would:

  • allow domestic violence victims who have an order of protection to obtain an unlisted telephone number without charge( A.6509A)
  • prohibit housing discrimination against domestic violence victims by forbidding landlords and sellers of property from denying an individual the right to purchase, rent, lease or inhabit housing because of involvement in a domestic dispute (A.9020-A);
  • require criminal or family court judges to inquire about the defendant’s or respondent’s ownership or possession of a firearm when orders of protection are sought (A.4320-A);
  • establish the “Address Confidentiality Program” for domestic violence victims, by authorizing the secretary of state to accept service of process for victims of domestic violence and their children (A.10180);
  • make it illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she has committed a family offense by adding “domestic violence offenses” to the list of serious offenses for which purchasing or possessing a license for a firearm, rifle or shotgun would constitute a class A misdemeanor (A.7575-A);
  • strengthen orders of protection by authorizing family courts to extend an order for victims who are afraid of recurring violence upon a showing of good cause, even if there has not been an actual recurrence of violence (A.6195-A);
  • clarify the expiration date to indicate that the date of sentencing, not conviction, be used to determine the expiration date of an order of protection issued in relation to a family offense (A.8807-B); and
  • provide that orders of protection can’t be denied solely on the basis that the alleged abuse was not simultaneous with the date of the application (A.8393-A).

“It is critical that this legislation be on the floor,” Gabryszak said. “I will continue to support meaningful legislation that provides victims with added protection to keep them safe so they can heal properly.”

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