The NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is proud to produce our sixth Domestic Violence Annual Report. This report serves as New York’s official report on the cross sector response to domestic violence, and represents the progress made by the 14 ex-officio and 9 appointed members of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council, to enhance safety for domestic violence survivors and victims while holding the people who have hurt them accountable for their actions.
In 2013 the state saw access to the Order of Protection Registry expanded to allow correctional facility staff and parole officers access to orders of protection, thereby increasing safety for survivors and maintaining accountability for perpetrators. The passage of financial abuse laws recognizes the role economics play in victim’s lives. And, the prohibition on arresting victims for violating orders of protection when they are the protected party, was a long time coming, but proof that New Yorkers want to do right by victims!
Legislative action is but one way that New York State supports victims. In 2013, in a partnership with singer/songwriter/ performer Natalie Merchant, OPDV produced public service awareness announcements encouraging bystanders to take action. At the same time, the production of three videos/DVDs that can be viewed together or individually send the message: “Don’t Do Nothing” if you know someone is being abused, whether it is a coworker or classmate, or someone in your own family. Both the PSAs and the videos are on YouTube, making them accessible to anyone.
And to better prepare professionals to respond to domestic violence, new trainings and job aids were created. This year, through state agency collaborations, trainings on the connection between gang violence and domestic violence were developed and conducted around the state; enhanced training for child protective workers was developed; and tools for staff of senior centers were created and distributed. A new brochure, “Understanding and Preventing Mistreatment of Seniors” is designed to help family members, and older adults themselves, identify intimate partner abuse when it happens.
OPDV completely revised and updated its important publication, “Finding Safety and Support,” to be more informative than ever, with new sections and an interactive on-line version. In addition, new material has been added to the website to address the needs of teens and those who care about them, as well as information for older adults. And a web-based “Guiding Principles for Community Domestic Violence Policy” serves as the long-awaited update to the 1997, “Model Domestic Violence Policy for Counties.”
The NYS Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team was organized in 2013 pursuant to Section 525 (10) of New York State Executive Law, and conducted two reviews. The state also began to look at the issue of high risk teams and lethality assessments by providing funding to pilot a project in the Capital Region.
A lot has happened this past year, yet there is so much more to be done. The NYS Domestic Violence Advisory Council is committed to improving the lives of victims and survivors, and providing professionals with the training, tools, education and procedures they need do the best job they can. The breadth and depth of the work being done by the members of the Advisory Council show New York’s commitment to improving the response to, and prevention of, domestic violence in our state.