Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that the Senate has passed legislation he sponsored which would assist victims of domestic violence by establishing a criminal penalty for those who obstruct or prevent telephone calls or electronic requests for emergency assistance (S.3510) and legislation that would increase the duration of orders of protection up to eight years (S.318).
Present law does not expressly punish those who obstruct or prevent another person’s telephone calls or electronic requests for emergency assistance. This legislation creates a new criminal offense "Obstructing a Telephonic or Electronic Communication for Assistance" as a Class A Misdemeanor. The legislation includes both calls to emergency services as well as calls to anyone else who might provide assistance including a neighbor, family member, or friend.
Although domestic violence has a high rate of recidivism victims may not obtain a new or extended order of protection unless the abuser has committed a new offense. Presently an order of protection may be issued for up to five years but is often issued for a shorter period of time. This legislation sets new standards for orders of protection, including up to an eight year duration for the orders.
"This legislation would assist victims of domestic violence," said Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie). "Since I authored the Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1994 I have been proud to see many additions to the law which have enhanced the protection available to children and families. This legislation would strengthen our laws so that we may better prevent the tragic consequences of domestic violence."
Both of these bills have been sent to the Assembly.