Senator Saland Introduced Legislation To Protect Victims Of Domestic Violence

Stephen M. Saland

March 01, 2006

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced he has introduced legislation which would increase the duration of final orders of protection and protect victims of domestic violence by establishing a criminal penalty for those who obstruct or prevent telephone calls or electronic requests for emergency assistance.

Presently a final order of protection may be issued for up to five years but is often issued for a shorter period of time. The limited duration of orders of protection, combined with high rates of recidivism, often place victims of abuse at risk. This legislation sets new standards for orders of protection, including up to a ten year duration for the orders.

Additionally, current law does not expressly punish those who obstruct or prevent another person’s telephone calls or electronic requests for emergency assistance. In approximately 4%-5% of all domestic violence cases, a telephone was pulled from the wall during a victim’s attempt to call for help. A second bill being introduced by Senator Saland will correct the current defect in the law by adding a new criminal offense of intentionally disabling or removing telephonic or electronic communications equipment, with the intent to prevent a person from seeking help.

"Domestic violence is a serious, widespread problem that affects thousands of women and children in New York every year," said Senator Saland. "Among government’s prime responsibilities is to provide for public safety, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable. I have continuously fought on behalf of victims of crime and abuse, both prior to and since I authored the Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act. These two bills will give additional tools to law enforcement to help ensure that victims who have the courage to seek help are afforded greater protection."

Both of these bills have sponsors in the Assembly.