(Albany, NY) -- Today Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) passed legislation (S.1243) to make it easier for survivors of domestic violence to come forward and report abuse. This legislation will allow survivors to report abuse to any law enforcement agency in New York State regardless of where it happened. Under current law, survivors can only report an instance of domestic violence to police who have jurisdiction.
"Reporting is the first step in saving a survivor's life and possibly the lives of their children. Currently, New York state law is making it challenging for survivors to come forward and stay safe. We have to address the domestic violence crisis now and get this bill signed into law," said Senator David Carlucci.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are victims of Domestic violence. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. This is why it was important to Senator Carlucci to work with survivors through the Center For Safety & Change to pass meaningful legislation to help reduce these sobering statistics.
This bill was inspired by domestic violence survivor, Angela Rivera whose daughter had also fallen victim when her boyfriend punched her in the face and broke her nose. When Rivera tried to help her daughter report the crime to the police where they live in Rockland County, they were turned away because the assault happened in Queens.
This situation is all too common and leads to fewer victims reporting domestic abuse. There is often a small window of time that a victim feels comfortable reporting the crime so experts say survivors must not be turned away by police because of a jurisdiction issue. This could lead to a victim not feeling supported and not reporting the crime.
Additionally, survivors may leave the area where an attack happens to get away from the abuser, finding safety with friends or family or at a shelter. However, under our current law, the survivor has to return to a potentially unsafe area, putting their life in jeopardy and making them more fearful to report.
According to a May 2017 report by the U.S. Justice Department, 44 percent of domestic violence incidents went unreported to police from 2006 to 2015. One reason victims do not report is due to fear of retaliation. The report found female victims were four times as likely as male victims to not report due to a fear of retaliation.
Currently, the bill (A.4467) is in the Assembly's Governmental Operations Committee.