Robach Announces Passage Of Domestic Violence Package

Joseph E. Robach

April 27, 2007

In observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, State Senator Joe Robach today announced passage of a comprehensive package of legislation aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence. Senator Robach and his colleagues were joined by Mrs. New York State 2007 Lori Donaudy of Smithtown, Long Island. A former victim of domestic abuse, Lori’s platform as Mrs. New York includes raising awareness of domestic violence, supporting victims, and raising funds for Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation.

The package includes two bills sponsored by Senator Robach:

Senate Bill S.3052 adds victims of domestic violence to the list of protected classes who shall not be discriminated against by an employer in terms of hiring or employment practices. This bill passed the Senate earlier in this year’s legislative session.

"In order to help victims of domestic violence, it is imperative to break the cycle of abuse," said Senator Robach. "This is nearly impossible if victims cannot find or keep employment and a way to maintain independence. This legislation would help ensure their jobs by making it illegal for employers to discriminate against abuse victims."

Senate Bill S.4066 requires a court, when issuing a temporary order of protection, to suspend a firearm license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms if the individual has been previously convicted of violating an order of protection by inflicting physical injury upon someone. This bill was recently introduced by Senator Robach in the Senate.

"Enacting this bill just makes sense," said Senator Robach. "Those who have a history of domestic violence or have been convicted of causing physical harm to someone should not be allowed to possess a firearm if they have violated an order of protection against the person they have hurt. This bill goes a long way to help protect those who are trying hard to protect themselves through an order of protection."

"The time is long overdue for the topic of domestic violence to emerge from a 'hidden, taboo discussion' to an open, nationwide conversation about its devastating impact on society," said Lori Donaudy, the reigning Mrs. New York United States 2007. "Domestic violence victims are most often made to feel embarrassed and shamed into a corner of silence, which only results in further empowerment of the perpetrators to continue their torment without consequence, or government intervention. Giving voice to the abused, from the most privileged in our society to the least, will help send a message that everyone has rights under the law to live life free of the enslaved feeling that domestic abuse breeds, which is unconstitutional at its very core."

Domestic Violence, Page 2

Endangering the Welfare of a Child

The Senate passed two bills today (S.2034) and (S.1755), sponsored by Senator Golden and Senator Mary Lou Rath (Williamsville) respectively, to strengthen existing law and establish the crime of endangering the welfare of a child when an act of domestic violence is committed in the presence of a child.

Studies indicate that children who witness domestic violence exhibit more aggressive behavior, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and low cognitive, verbal and motor skills.

Orders of Protection

The Senate today passed a bill (S.3646), sponsored by Senator Vincent Leibell (Patterson), to authorize family courts to issue orders of protection for witnesses called to testify in family court. Very often witnesses are fearful of testifying because it may put them in danger. Providing an order of protection will help ensure the safety of witnesses.

In addition, the Senate passed legislation (S.894), sponsored by Senator Dale M. Volker (Depew), to allow courts to issue orders of protection for a period of time beyond that currently authorized or a permanent order of protection. Other states have enacted similar provisions to provide increased and continued protection for both domestic violence and stalking victims.

The bills were sent to the Assembly.

The Senate today also announced the introduction of legislation that would:

> require GPS monitoring on persons who have an order of protection issued against them (S.4796, Senator Andrew Lanza, Staten Island);

> permit the use of closed-circuit television for the victims of alleged domestic violence to testify in court (S.4875, Senator Young, Olean); and

> allow electronic filing of orders of protection (S.4704, Senator Volker, Depew).

Earlier in the legislative session, the Senate passed the following bill related to the protection of victims of domestic violence that would:

> include stalking by technological means -- including illegal wiretapping, cell phones, caller ID, the Internet, GPS, and any other type of tracking device -- as an element of the current crimes of stalking in the first, second, and third degrees (S.884, Senator Trunzo, Brentwood);

Senator Robach encourages the State Assembly to take immediate action on these bills.

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