Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) announced that he helped pass legislation to provide more assistance to, and increase protections for, victims of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence can take on many forms and can wreak havoc on families on both a physical and psychological level,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “It affects all types of households regardless of age, race or income, oftentimes leaving a long-term impact on victims and their families. It’s our responsibility to crack down on domestic violence and help victims of such abuse in any way that we can.”
The Assembly’s legislative package would:
- prohibit employment discrimination against domestic violence victims (A.898);
- prohibit housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence by forbidding landlords and property sellers from denying an individual the right to purchase, rent, lease or inhabit housing (A.5387);
- make it illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she has committed a family offense by adding certain family 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
- require orders of protection issued in family court to be interpreted into the native language of the individuals involved (A.1084);
- expose individuals or parties who fail to obey or enforce an order of protection to joint liability for all non-economic damages sought by a claimant after a fact-finding by a judge or jury (A.899);
- require hospitals to establish policies and procedures regarding domestic violence, establish ongoing training programs on domestic violence for staff and designate a hospital staff member to coordinate services to victims (A.2562); and
- provide notice on orders of protection affirming that the protected party cannot be held to violate the order nor be arrested for violating the order (A.6547-A).
Additionally, the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act that passed earlier this year further safeguards domestic violence victims, requiring courts to suspend or revoke a state pistol permit when issuing an order of protection upon determining that there is a substantial risk that the firearm could be used against the victim (Ch. 1 of 2013).
Each year, roughly 450,000 incidents of domestic violence are reported in the state,i and in 2011, New York State courts issued a total of 301,021 orders of protection, of which 218,872 were required to be recorded in the United Court System’s Domestic Violence Registry.ii One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and in the United States, it’s estimated that each day, three women are murdered by their intimate partner.iii
“The damage caused by domestic violence can be extensive and in many cases goes beyond physical abuse,” Thiele said. “Victims often do not have a support network or much-needed resources during this time. The Assembly’s legislation strengthens domestic violence laws and helps victims and their families.”