Introduction From the Executive Director
This is the 4th Annual New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard which compares data from 2007 through 2010. The Dashboard has been a useful tool for us in government to understand where systems are strong, and where they can be improved. As a summary document, the Dashboard is a basic introduction to what we can measure now about the prevalence of domestic violence in New York State.
With four years worth of data, some trends are taking shape, while other numbers continue to raise questions. There is not one “story” for the data: while some measurements related to prevalence are increasing (cases heard by the court system are on the rise), others are decreasing (intimate partner homicides, which had risen between ’07 and ’08, have decreased, although still remain a significant 7% above ’07 levels). Another increase speaks to particular determination by the State to support crime victims: the number of claims for financial reimbursements granted by the NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS) increased by 69% for victims of domestic violence and by 112% for victims of sexual assault from 2007. This increase is likely due to OVS’s dedication both to improving the speed with which they process applications and to ensuring that as many victims as possible qualify for funds under their statutorily-defined definition. When funds can mean the difference between a victim’s ability to gain safety or not, this change is a terrific improvement.
The source agency for data referenced in each statement is indicated at the end of the sentence: published source material is footnoted. Statistics cited represent data for the 2010 calendar year and are statewide, unless otherwise indicated. The 2007 Dashboard offered a full explanation of each system from which this data was taken, including an explanation of terminology. Since then, we have only explained data points that are new that year. This year, we have two additions. First, the percentage of individuals receiving assistance from the NYS Office for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services agencies that screen positive for domestic violence – as either an offender or victim. Second, we have added the number of domestic violence-related cases handled by local probation departments.
As conversations turn increasingly to dating abuse and bullying, it is notable that every year since 2007, three teens between the ages of 16 and 19 have been killed by an intimate partner in New York. Also, in 2010, 22% more New Yorkers under age 21 filed for family court orders of protection under the new intimate relationship category than in 2009. It’s important that we address dating violence in our programs that work with youth, especially schools. A model dating violence policy could provide guidance for these programs.
Teens were not the only victims accessing family court for orders of protection under the expanded definition of “intimate relationship”; in total, 15% of all civil order of protection filings were filed under the new definition in 2010. Notably, 7% of those filings were by individuals in same sex relationships, a 3% increase from 2009. Taken together, the data on teens and same sex couples indicates that the community is becoming more aware of the civil orders of protection now available to them under the new intimate relationship category.
Thank you for reviewing this data summary: it reflects a commitment across agencies to share their information, as well as hard work by OPDV staff to compile it in a way that we hope is useful. We encourage you to read it together with the 2010 NYS Domestic Violence Annual Report, which contains a broader summary of the work of our state agencies, as well as a few other community stakeholder organizations1. Measuring what we see is not the solution, but it is a vital step to reaching one.
Executive Director, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence