Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) announced that she passed legislation that would ensure survivors of domestic violence have a pathway to seek justice and the resources they need to move forward with their lives. Earlier this year, the Assembly pushed to make the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act law, leading the way in helping keep guns out of the wrong hands.“No one should live in fear in their own home, but it’s the sad reality for far too many New Yorkers,” said Rozic. “It is important that we help as many people as possible break away from cycles of abuse. That means making it safe to come forward, taking their experiences seriously and compassionately, and ensuring that they have the support and tools necessary to feel empowered to move forward”
Though domestic violence is extremely underreported, the statistics are startling. In the U.S., more than 10 million women and men are victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner every year. Abuse can take many forms and the victim is often most in danger if they attempt to leave or after they escape.
Rozic added, “This is why the Assembly’s legislation is so important. It puts protections in place for the women and men who leave an abusive situation.”
Legislation introduced by Rozic would better equip survivors of domestic violence to distance themselves from their abusers by allowing them to cancel shared cell phone contracts without penalty (A946A). They would also be able to request that the provider issue a new phone number. Similarity, a second bill would allow survivors to terminate shared television, telephone, or satellite contracts without penalty (A1056).
The Assembly also passed legislation that would:
• increase the statute of limitations in actions for injuries occurring as a result of domestic violence in civil court proceedings from one to two years (A1516);
• require hospitals to establish procedures regarding domestic violence and ongoing training programs for staff, and to designate a hospital staff member to coordinate services (A4014A);
• ensure survivors of domestic violence understand their legal rights and access to services during criminal and family court proceedings by simplifying the language in court documents (A5921);
• require health insurers to provide survivors of domestic violence the option to have claim information and benefits sent to an alternative mailing address (A4060); and
• allow survivors of domestic violence to vote by special ballot by mail (A7009). In March, the Assembly again passed the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, which prohibits an individual who has been convicted of a domestic violence crime from purchasing or possessing a firearm. This year, the Senate finally joined the Assembly in passing the legislation and the governor signed it into law, marking a major milestone for domestic violence survivors.
“One of the most important ways we can help survivors of domestic violence is by making it easier for them to seek justice,” said Rozic. “Holding abusers accountable for their crimes helps survivors put the pieces of their life back together.”
Help and support are always available, Rozic noted. New York’s toll-free hotline is open 24 hours a day at 1-800-942-6906. For additional information, visit the New York State Office of Victim Services website at ovs.ny.gov or the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence website at opdv.ny.gov. Locally, contact the YWCA of Queens at 718-353-4553, Korean American Family Service Center’s (KAFSC) 24-hour confidential hotline at 718460-3800, or Shalom Task Force’s confidential hotline at 718-337-3700.