Assemblymember Phil Steck: Assembly Bills Protect, Support Victims of Domestic Violence

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that he helped pass a legislative package to provide more assistance to, and increase protections for, victims of domestic violence. Steck noted that in 2011, there were 2,268 reports of domestic violence in Albany County and 1,843 reports of domestic violence in Schenectady County.i “Be it physical or psychological, the damaging effects of domestic abuse can stay with a victim for a lifetime if they aren’t able to get the help they need,” Assemblymember Steck said. “This legislative package helps victims of this horrific violence by making more support available and by giving them the ability to start rebuilding their lives. It’s a crucial beginning point to help domestic violence victims statewide.” Assemblymember Steck supported the following legislative package:

  • A.898 – prohibits employment discrimination against domestic violence victims;
  • A.899 – exposes 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.1084 – requires orders of protection issued in family court to be interpreted into the native language of the individuals involved;
  • A.2562 – requires 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.5387 – prohibits 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.6390 – makes 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; and
  • A.6547-A – provides notice on orders of protection affirming that the protected party cannot be held to violate the order nor be arrested for violating the order.
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). Statewide, there are roughly 450,000 incidents of domestic violence reported each year.ii In fact, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and in the United States, it’s estimated that three women are murdered by their intimate partner each day.iii Just two years ago, 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.iv