Introduction From the Executive Director
This is the 3rd Annual New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard. For government, the press, the domestic violence community and legislators, the Dashboard has been a useful tool to understand where systems are strong, and where they can use some assistance. We hope it helps you to analyze your own response in greater detail.
With three years worth of data, we are starting to identify real trends. Once again in 2009, unfortunately, the data suggests that New York, like many other places, is experiencing an increase in indicators of domestic violence. Some of the upward trends identified between 2007 and 2008 continued through 2009, such as more claims from domestic violence and sexual assault victims filed with the Crime Victims Board (replaced by the NYS Office of Victim Services as the result of legislation enacted in June 2010) and more public assistance applicants disclosing current danger due to domestic violence. Fortunately, domestic violence homicides did not continue to rise, however they did stay at the same inflated level as in 2008. Other numbers rose notably between 2008 and 2009, such as the number of temporary and final orders of protection issued, which jumped in all courts, but particularly in criminal, local and town courts. The Dashboard does contain some heartening data as well: in 2009 NYS opened an additional four integrated domestic violence courts, and an additional nine domestic violence courts; the State provided more family violence option waivers to temporary assistance recipients in danger than ever before; and over 15,000 people were able to obtain civil orders of protection in Family Court under the newly expanded “intimate relationship” category. In addition, the Office of Court Administration (“OCA”) created the Integrated Domestic Violence Court Initiatives (IDVCIs), with a goal of bringing the benefits of the integrated model to the entire state. The OCA opened IDVCIs in 7 counties, which have already served 80 families with 251 cases.
We must be careful when we analyze information like this. A rise in some indicators could suggest an increased prevalence of domestic violence, but it could also mean only that more people are reporting, without telling us whether prevalence has increased, decreased, or stayed the same. Regardless, we know that more victims sought assistance in 2008 than in 2009. And either way, the news is sobering. With more people reaching out for help, and fewer resources to help them, we must use this data to encourage ourselves to collaborate across disciplines, and invent innovative strategies to connect existing resources to the individuals who need them. We are going to have to get smarter about how we do what we do. For more information about the statewide programmatic response to domestic violence, please look to the 2009 NYS Domestic Violence Annual Report on the OPDV website.
Once again, 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 2009 calendar year. The criteria for inclusion in this document are that the figures be comparable across systems; that the data be relevant; and that it is as precise as possible. In its first year, the 2007 Dashboard introduction offered a full explanation of the systems from which the data was captured, including an explanation of terminology; further explanation was offered in the 2008 Dashboard introduction, both of which can be found on the OPDV website. There are no new data points that need clarification this year.
Thank you for reviewing this succinct document, which reflects a broad commitment across agencies to coordinate, and hard work by dedicated OPDV staff to compile information in a way that is meaningful and useful. I invite you to subscribe to our quarterly e-newsletter (the OPDV Bulletin) on our website, and to “fan” our page on Facebook so that you can receive regular information updates from OPDV.
Executive Director, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence