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            Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R – Merrick) today announced the recent passage of legislation by the State Senate and Assembly, that will protect victims of domestic violence and establish stronger criminal penalties to punish individuals who commit acts of domestic violence.

            “For too long, victims of domestic violence have lived in fear of their abusers and stayed in the shadows,” said Senator Fuschillo. “Today, we bring to light this horrible issue and give voice to those who have suffered long enough. This legislation is a major step forward in the fight to end domestic violence. It is my hope that providing more appropriate punishment when these heinous acts occur, will help to discourage future domestic violence crimes.”

           Highlights of the domestic violence legislation include:

  • Establishing a domestic violence fatality review team to examine factors involved in deaths related to domestic violence;
  • Expanding factors for bail consideration including prior violations of orders of protection;
  • Creating a new felony-level crime of Aggravated Family Offense, where the defendant and victim are members of the same family or household;
  • Elevating the crime of Harassment from a violation to a Class A misdemeanor, where the defendant and victim are members of the same family or household; and
  • Prohibiting a person who was served with an order of protection or charged in the death of a decedent from controlling the disposition of the person’s remains.

      The legislation (S. 7638), represents a three-way agreement among the Senate, Governor Cuomo and the Assembly. It includes several important provisions included in bills that have already passed the Senate this year, such as bail reforms and increased penalties for domestic violence crimes.