Background and Goals of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council
The mission and activities of the New York State Office for the Prevention
of Domestic Violence are articulated in Executive Law §575; section 4
of this provision establishes the Advisory Council:
“An advisory council is hereby established to make recommendations on domestic violence related issues and effective strategies for the prevention of domestic violence, to assist in the development of appropriate policies and priorities for effective intervention, public education and advocacy, and to facilitate and assure communication and coordination of efforts among state agencies and between different levels of government, state, federal, and municipal, for the prevention of domestic violence.”
The Council includes representation from 14 State agencies, as well as 3 members appointed by the Governor, and 6 members appointed by the Governor upon recommendation of the legislature: the appointed members represent a broad cross-section of service-providers from advocates, to civil attorneys and prosecutors, to judges and legislators. It is directed to meet at least twice annually. Given the breadth of its statutory mandate, the challenge for the Council has always been how to focus its activities in order to ensure that the meetings result in significant policy advice and progress in the area of domestic violence. Past efforts by the Council were successful at highlighting changes needed in the systems’ response to domestic violence, but were less adept at effecting those changes. Regular turnover in Council attendance also hampered the ability to achieve real progress on identified issues.
Therefore, in the current administration, several steps were taken to strengthen the impact of the Council. OPDV:
- Conducted outreach to each and every member organization and agency to encourage consistency in representation;
- Assigned one liaison within OPDV to facilitate communication with the Council;
- Invited Council-members to present on achievements to encourage the exchange of ideas and collaboration among members;
- Convened subcommittees to address particular issues raised by the larger Council;
- Encouraged each member to identify concrete activities and take at least one action step on a specific area within domestic violence each year; and
- Invited the Council to memorialize their achievements through contributions to an Annual Domestic Violence Report issued by OPDV.
All of these steps have served to transform the Council into a dynamic and successful example of efficient collaboration with measurable outcomes.
"Domestic violence affects not only individuals in their home settings, but also may have devastating effects on victims' abilities to do their jobs, as well as coworkers, employers and others as it spills over to the worksite. The work of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council is critical to addressing the needs of those affected by this abusive behavior, in the workplace and in all areas of their lives." ~NYS Department of Labor