Introduction From the Executive Director
This is the 5th Annual New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard which contains data from 2007 through 2011. After five years of collecting data from a broad range of agencies, some trends are becoming clear – many of which will confirm what providers are seeing in the field, and others may surprise you. We also continue to add information each year as more and more agencies include screening for domestic violence into their regular practice.
Overall, most numbers have gone up. They have gone up because more individuals are seeking services, but they also seem to reflect a disturbing increase in the prevalence of domestic violence. As always, the data does not provide the answers, but leads us to ask questions. For example, more civil orders of protection issued means more people sought the court’s assistance, but it could also mean more people needed that assistance – or both. One important number has gone down between 2010 and 2011, shelter denials, which means more people seeking emergency shelter were able to access shelter when needed.
This year, we have three additions to our data points. First, the Division of Corrections and Community Supervision can now tell us what percentage of individuals released to parole, after serving time in a State facility, have a history of domestic violence. The parole unit identifies domestic violence as an issue and, using a broad range of factors, screens all parolees for domestic violence (whether they are incarcerated for domestic violence or not) and utilizes this knowledge to craft a supervision plan for that individual. Second, we have added domestic incident data this year. And last, we are reporting the number of strangulation charges, to acknowledge the importance of the new strangulation law and how broadly it is being used.
Two important changes in the state could have affected the data reflected in this year’s Dashboard. One is New York State’s passage of marriage equality. Same sex married couples can now be included in court papers, so this may contribute to some of the changes we see in order of protection data. The other is the launching of the Domestic Incident Report (DIR) repository this year which, for the first time, enabled us to include DIR data.
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 2011 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.
Thank you for reviewing the Fifth Anniversary Dashboard: it reflects a commitment across agencies to screen for domestic violence, and share their information with all of you. OPDV staff work diligently to compile and present it in a way we hope will be of use. We encourage you to read it together with the 2011 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 organizations. Data is only part of the story, but it is an important part.
Gwen J. Wright
Acting Executive Director, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence