Assemblywoman Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn) announced the Assembly passed a package of bills designed to protect crime victims and their families, and crack down on criminals. The passing of this legislation coincides with New York State Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 10-16, and aims to help victims rebuild their lives.
“Countless New Yorkers – including children, families and loved ones – are victimized each year, and the results can be devastating,” Assemblywoman Barron said “The Assembly’s package of bills was created to enhance protection, increase victim advocacy, lessen financial repercussions for crime victims and help decrease violent crimes across the state – helping give New Yorkers peace of mind.”
Advocating sensitivity for sex-crime victims
Legislation in this year’s package directs the Municipal Police Training Council and the courts to establish policies and procedures for police officers and judges to provide training with respect to crimes involving sexual assault (A.2349). The procedures would be developed in consultation with experienced rape-crisis centers to develop fair treatment standards for victims of sexual assault.
“Those who are sexually assaulted suffer serious trauma,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “This legislation will ensure that victims are treated with the utmost care and sensitivity during the investigative and legal process. Further, this legislation will ensure that law enforcement has the necessary information, training and tools to enhance their response to sexual violence.”
Cracking down on sexual predators
Also included in the package is a measure that would classify sexual contact by a person 21 years or older with a person under the age of 13 as a class D violent felony and subject a person convicted of such offense to up to seven years in state prison (A.788).
Keeping firearms away from those who may be unstable due to mental illness
The Assembly’s legislative package includes a measure to protect the general public by authorizing courts to revoke firearms licenses and require the surrender of firearms possessed by individuals who are legally incapacitated, ordered to treatment or committed to a mental health facility (A.3081).
Easing financial hardships for crime victims
Legislation was also passed allowing courts to direct anti-trust fines to be paid to the Office of Victim Services, putting more funds into the programs that help victims (A.2942-A).
“Crime victims often face a financial aftermath littered with road blocks,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “They are forced to make tough decisions regarding their jobs, paying their bills and caring for their families. This package of bills would assist victims in regaining control over their finances and getting their lives back on track.”
Extending the task force on human trafficking
Included in the package of bills is the extension of the current Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking (A.6800). The task force is charged with curbing the illegal sale of people for the purposes of sex or work by strengthening trafficking prevention, directing victims to agencies that provide needed services and increasing public awareness of human trafficking.
“One of society’s most hideous crimes happens right here in our state – the illegal trade of humans, often children, for sex and work,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “The Assembly has passed a bill that would extend the human-trafficking task force for another two years as it continues finding solutions to this heinous practice.”
The Assembly’s legislation would also:
- change the reporting requirements relative to restitution and fair treatment standards for the Office of Victim Services from annual to every two years and consolidate reporting requirements regarding victims services programs, allowing for a more thorough analysis of the manner in which crime victims’ needs are met (A.5811);
- empower courts to assist victims in proving that certain financial statements were false, thereby protecting victims’ credit and property (A.3457); and
- expand eligibility for crime victims’ compensation to include domestic partners (A.3592).
“The legislation passed by the Assembly will help protect victims and help them regain normalcy in their lives after traumatic events,” Assemblywoman Barron said.