By Kenneth Lovett
Two state senators on Thursday called for stiffer penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.
The calls came after a Daily News report showed that reported domestic violence cases in the city skyrocketed 12.3% last year. Attacks on women "intimate partners" went up even more - 17.3%.
"[The Daily News'] report on rising domestic violence must be a call to action: Give law enforcement the tools they need to protect victims and families from this horrific trend now," said Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Manhattan).
Squadron and Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) introduced legislation this year that would create a felony charge of "aggravated" domestic violence for those convicted of attacking their partners or family members two or more times within five years.
A similar bill passed the Assembly.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance supports the proposals.
Under current law, only those who cause serious physical injury or kill their victims face felony charges.
"If people are going to continue to hurt their significant others, their wives and women, they should be put in jail," Golden, a retired cop, said.
Golden represents Brooklyn, which has the most reported domestic violence cases in the city. Squadron's district also crosses into Brooklyn.
Brooklyn last year had 9,530 reported domestic violence cases, up 9.8% from 2009.
Law enforcement officials say the numbers in Brooklyn and across the city were up dramatically last year because of a change in law redefining what an intimate partner is.
Wanda Lucibello, head of the special victims division in the Brooklyn district attorney's office, said the rising number of domestic violence reports is not necessarily a bad thing.
Lucibello said Brooklyn has more reported cases because of its high population and an aggressive community outreach to get victims to come forward.
"It's not a positive if people are getting more seriously injured and hurt," she said.
"But it's a positive thing if people are reporting a lot of those lower level crimes because [then] you're creating an environment and an atmosphere where you're allowing people to break their silence and isolation."