Senator Lanza's Legislation Expanding Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence Signed Into Law by Governor Cuomo

Andrew J. Lanza

August 08, 2019

Senator Andrew Lanza said, "Domestic violence is an abhorrent crime that erodes the fundamental expectation of safety and security that comes with being at home or around a person of trust. By signing this bill today, Governor Cuomo is helping to shield victims from the types of economic abuse that all too often create an added barrier that keeps victims from leaving dangerous relationships. I remain committed to working with legislative leaders to root out domestic violence in all of its forms and holding abusers accountable for all of their crimes."

S.2625/ A.5608 Amends Definition of Domestic Violence to Include Forms of Economic Abuse
S.3232-A/A.219 Gives Domestic Violence Victims the Right to Vote by Mail
S.1243/A.4467A Allows Domestic Violence Victims to Report Abuse to Any Law Enforcement Agency in New York State, Regardless of Where the Act Took Place

Governor Cuomo: "Domestic violence is a quiet scourge that has the potential to leave lasting trauma on victims. By signing these measures into law, we will broaden the legal definition of domestic violence so more abusers are held accountable as well as empower victims to get help faster and provide them a measure of protection from their abuser when they vote."

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed three pieces of legislation expanding protections for victims of domestic violence. These measures broaden the definition of the crime of domestic violence to include forms of economic abuse such as identity theft, grand larceny and coercion (S.2625/ A.5608); give victims the choice to vote by mail-in ballot, even if they remain within the county where they are registered to vote (S.3232-A/A.219); and allow victims to report abuse to any law enforcement agency in New York State, regardless of where the violence originally took place (S.1243/A.4467A).

"Domestic violence is a quiet scourge that has the potential to leave lasting trauma on victims," Governor Cuomo said. "By signing these measures into law, we will broaden the legal definition of domestic violence so more abusers are held accountable as well as empower victims to get help faster and provide them a measure of protection from their abuser when they vote."  

"My mother dedicated her life to helping survivors of domestic violence, and her work has inspired me during my time in public service," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This legislation will protect individuals from abuse and violence, and ensure survivors are able to seek justice. As part of our Women's Justice Agenda, our state is leading the way to protect all New Yorkers, advance full equality, and strengthen our society."

This legislation builds on progress made in the Governor's 2019 Women's Justice Agenda to combat domestic violence and empower victims to seek justice. Earlier this year, the Governor signed the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, which codified more meaningful sentence reductions for domestic abuse survivors in the criminal justice system.

Senator Andrew Lanza said, "Domestic violence is an abhorrent crime that erodes the fundamental expectation of safety and security that comes with being at home or around a person of trust. By signing this bill today, Governor Cuomo is helping to shield victims from the types of economic abuse that all too often create an added barrier that keeps victims from leaving dangerous relationships. I remain committed to working with legislative leaders to root out domestic violence in all of its forms and holding abusers accountable for all of their crimes."

Senator Diane Savino said, "This legislation gives domestic violence victims the opportunity to vote in a safe manner, ensuring that they do not have to worry about encountering their abuser. While there are currently options to vote in person at the local Board of Elections, this still may not be the safest option if that county is still where the victim's abuser resides. I thank Leader Stewart-Cousins and my Senate colleagues for taking up this bill and applaud Governor Cuomo for signing it into law."

Senator David Carlucci said, "Our outdated domestic violence laws are not protecting victims, but making it more difficult for them to come forward. My bill, which the Governor has signed into law will lead to increased reporting, allow survivors to get to safety, and hopefully prevent future tragedies. I thank the Center For Safety & Change in Rockland County and survivor Angela Rivera for working with me on this legislation and seeing it through to the end."

Assembly Member Helene Weinstein said, "Abusers often use economic coercion, to keep victims from leaving. This legislation expands upon my 2013 law which recognized that economic abuse is an often overlooked form of domestic violence. I applaud the Governor for recognizing these bitter realities of the world that the victims of domestic violence live in, and for standing up for them when it counts most."

Assembly Member Amy Paulin said, "Allowing victims of domestic violence to cast special ballots by mail, in the same manner as an absentee ballot, will ensure they can safely exercise their right to vote. There are times when it is just not safe for a survivor to vote in person in the same county where her abuser resides, but that should not diminish her voice or her vote."

Assembly Member Ken Zebrowski said, "I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important measure that will empower victims of domestic violence to safely report crimes to law enforcement. By allowing domestic violence victims to file a complaint to any agency statewide, individuals will be provided with the ability to report crimes without fear or intimidation by their abuser. This legislation will hopefully lead to an increase in the reporting of domestic violence incidents and will allow victims to promptly leave the area where their abuser is located and get to safety. I'd also like to thank domestic violence advocates, including the Center for Safety & Change, for bringing this issue to the forefront."