Introduction From the Executive Director
We are pleased to introduce you to the New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard for 2008. For the second year, we have tried to paint a picture of both the prevalence of domestic violence, and the strength of New York State’s response to it, based on available information. By collecting this cross-system data, we are improving our ability to measure the totality of the domestic violence challenge in our state, and encouraging a holistic analysis of our response.
As was the case last year, the source agency for data referenced in each statement is indicated at the end of the sentence: published source material is footnoted. All statistics cited represent statewide data for the 2008 calendar year unless otherwise indicated. We cite to New York City data when statewide data is not available. The criteria for inclusion in this document were that the figures be comparable across systems; that the data refer to “intimate partner violence”(IPV), not broader domestic violence, which can also include other familial violence; that the data be relevant; and that it be as precise as possible.
With two years of data, the Dashboard is just the beginning of our efforts to track changes over time. Although two years cannot yet identify real trends, the data suggests that New York, like many other places, has shown an increase in indicators of domestic violence. Between 2007 and 2008, we saw an increase in: the number of intimate partner homicides; calls to domestic violence hotlines; individual claims for reimbursement by domestic violence and sexual assault victims; public assistance applicants disclosing current danger due to domestic violence; and temporary orders of protection issued. While we cannot responsibly draw broad conclusions from these numbers, they certainly confirm the lived experience of everyone in the field that the circumstances for victims seem to be getting more severe. Now more than ever we need our systems to work together to address the multiple needs facing victims.
Last year’s Dashboard introduction gave a full explanation of the systems from which the data on domestic violence is captured, including an explanation of terminology. We only have a few additional points to add this year. The full explanation of the orders of protection data was explained in some detail last year: this year we added a data point regarding orders of protections issued under the new Expanded Access to Family Court legislation. That new law, which was enacted in July, 2008, now enables two individuals in an intimate relationship – such as a dating relationship without children – to petition the family court for an order of protection. OPDV is engaged in an project to evaluate the impact of this new law (visit our website soon for more information).
Finally, we know that data is only part of the story and does not capture all of the work being done by domestic violence service providers, the law enforcement community, and local government, all of which assist victims of domestic violence to get and stay safe every day. The Dashboard reflects the past year, while our programs represent the future. I invite you to subscribe to the Quarterly OPDV Bulletin and e-alerts for ongoing updates regarding the broad efforts being undertaken at the state level to prevent and respond to domestic violence. In June, those efforts and more will be summarized in our second NYS Domestic Violence Annual Report.
Executive Director, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence