Senate Passes Legislation to Empower Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence Seeking Justice

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The New York State Senate today passed legislation to strengthen the rights of victims of domestic and sexual violence and expand protections for survivors. The legislative package includes measures to prohibit the defense of voluntary intoxication in sex crimes and would add extreme risk protection orders to the statewide computerized registry of protection orders. It clarifies and expands the definition of "welfare" to increase the amount for awards made to crime victims, and informs crime victims of their rights upon conviction. According to the Senate Democratic Majority, “these changes will make a significant difference in the lives of survivors and help ensure that true justice and accountability are afforded to each affected individual.” The proposed legislation builds on the Senate Majority's recent work to combat and prosecute domestic violence crimes that include an earmark of $35.7 million in the 2024-25 State Budget, and enactment of the Rape is Rape Act at the beginning of this year to significantly expand the gamut of assaults that would be legally classified as rape.

Read the Senate Majority Press Release.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Those who have survived domestic and sexual violence should have access to all available resources and protection during their journey toward recovery. Unfortunately, existing regulations and practices often create unnecessary obstacles and bureaucratic processes, and discourage individuals from seeking essential services. Through this legislative package, we aim to clarify procedures and genuinely prioritize the rights of victims. I express my gratitude to the Senators who authored this legislation, as it represents progress for those impacted by these forms of violence and shows that they have truly listened to those who are often never heard.”

Chair of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, Senator Julia Salazar said, “Crime victims deserve compensation for their personal property that has been lost, damaged, or stolen as a result of the crime they have endured, but the parameters for determining what they receive remains too narrow. This bill clarifies and expands those provisions to ensure victims can stabilize their lives and achieve a reasonable standard of living. Passing this legislation is the right thing to do for crime victims, their families, and our communities—and we should do it this year.”

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