Several laws were enacted in 2013 to increase protections for domestic violence victims, including protections against economic abuse and inappropriate arrest. Access to the statewide order of protection registry was expanded to include additional criminal justice professionals, increasing the accountability of offenders in correctional facilities and on parole. Two critical laws, Mandatory Arrest and the increased maximum length allowed in criminal orders of protection, were extended for two more years. Some of the new laws are summarized below.
- Financial/Economic Abuse
In order to address financial and economic abuse, certain crimes of identity theft, larceny and coercion have been added to the list of family offenses in the Family Court Act and the criminal procedure law. The new law also adds a new condition that can be included in orders of protection, requiring the abuser to return specified “identification documents,” such as a passport, immigration papers, social security card, benefits or insurance card, etc., to the protected party.
- Arrest of Victim for Order of Protection Violation Prohibited
This law prohibits victims of domestic violence from being held in any way legally responsible for violation of an order of protection under which they are the protected party. The law takes effect immediately and applies to all orders of protection currently in effect. This prohibition will be explicitly stated on New York State’s order of protection forms: "This order of protection will remain in effect even if the protected party has, or consents to have, contact or communication with the party against whom the order is issued. This order of protection can only be modified or terminated by the Court. The protected party cannot be held to violate this order nor be arrested for violating this order."
- Corrections and Parole Officer Access to Order of Protection Registry
Certain local and state corrections officers, and parole officers, will now be allowed to access the statewide order of protection registry. Accessing the registry will allow officers to determine if an inmate or parolee is subject to an Order and what conditions must be followed in the Order.
- New Phone Number
This law requires phone companies to provide a new phone number, if requested by a domestic violence victim who has an order of protection -- within 15 days of the request and at no charge to the victim. This applies to land lines, but not cell phones. This option is added to the current requirement that phone companies provide an unlisted phone number or an alternative listing to victims who request one.
- Visitation/Custody of Child Conceived as Result of Sexual Offense
This law restricts the parental rights of individuals convicted of certain sex offenses: rape first/second degree, course of sexual conduct against a child first degree, predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child. When a child is conceived as a result of these offenses, the law will now presume that granting custody to, or visitation with, the offender is not in the best interest of the child. The law also prohibits notifying the offender of certain proceedings involving the child, such as foster care or adoption.
For more information and a complete list of domestic violence-related laws passed in 2013, please visit the OPDV website.