Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced the Governor has signed into law his bill, S. 2452, to strengthen domestic violence laws. The new law creates the crime of preventing a person from communicating a request for emergency assistance by intentionally disabling or removing communication sending equipment such as a telephone or teletypewriter device (TTY). The new crime is considered criminal mischief in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Children and Families Committee, Senator Saland authored numerous domestic violence laws, including the landmark Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act, which radically changed the way domestic violence cases are handled in New York. Saland’s efforts on behalf of domestic violence victims have been recognized by advocates across the State.
According to a report on domestic violence incidents by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), in approximately 4% to 5% of all cases, a telephone was pulled from the wall during a victim's attempt to call for help. These percentages translate into 12,000 to 15,000 incidents per year. This new law will punish domestic batterers who try to keep their victims from calling for help, as well as those who prevent the elderly or disabled from using the equipment they need to call for assistance.
“Domestic violence is a pervasive problem that affects women in every age group, no matter their level of education or economic circumstances,” said Senator Saland. “I have fought for, and won, protections for victims throughout my entire tenure in the Senate. This change in law will have a profound effect on victims of domestic violence.”
“In our work with victims of domestic violence, we certainly hear many examples where women have been prevented from contacting the authorities in a crisis. We are hopeful that this will be an additional tool for holding batterers accountable for their violence. We are grateful to Senator Saland for his ongoing support for victims of domestic violence. His contributions over his many years of service have been significant,” said Judy Lombardi, LCSW, Executive Director of Grace Smith House.