Hoylman Hails Passage of His Legislation to Require Translation of Domestic Violence Complaints

Brad Hoylman-Sigal

June 26, 2015

Bill introduced in response to tragic death of Deisy Garcia, whose domestic incident reports languished because they were written in Spanish  

Hoylman: “In the world’s melting pot, language should never be an impediment to justice” 

NEW YORK – Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) hailed passage by the New York State Legislature of his bill to require local police departments around the state to translate domestic violence incident reports from languages other than English and ensure that domestic violence victims are notified of their rights in their native language. Assembly Member Maritza Davila passed identical legislation in the State Assembly, and the bill is now headed to Governor Cuomo's desk for his signature.  

Hoylman introduced the legislation in response to the brutal murder last year of Deisy Garcia and her two daughters at the hands of Garcia's estranged husband. Ms. Garcia had filed multiple domestic incident reports with the NYPD in Spanish but the reports were never translated into English by investigators.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “All domestic violence victims, no matter what language they speak, must have equal access to justice under the law. Deisy Garcia and her two young daughters never had that chance, simply because their urgent pleas weren’t translated. With this legislation, no longer will tragic cases like Ms. Garcia’s fall between the cracks.

“My bill ensures that when a non-English speaker fills out a domestic violence report, that report will be promptly translated into English so police can begin a proper investigation and also requires that all victims of domestic violence are notified of their rights in their native language. In the world’s melting pot, language should never be an impediment to justice.

“I’m extremely grateful to my Senate colleagues for their support and Assembly Member Martiza Davila for her advocacy on this important issue. I urge Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law.”

Senator Hoylman’s legislation, S.4288, would require that state and local law enforcement have policies and procedures in place for translation and notification requirements so that no victim of domestic violence is denied access to justice.  Under current law, police can receive a domestic violence incident report but not properly initiate an investigation because the report was not filed in English. 

The bill passed the Senate on a 42-21 count on June 18, 2015.