Council Passes Legislation Mandating Long-Term Tracking Of City’s Anti-Domestic Violence Efforts

January 24, 2019

Today the City Council unanimously passed Council Member Helen Rosenthal‘s legislation mandating long-term, detailed reporting from the City on domestic violence across the five boroughs, and how the City is addressing the needs of survivors.

Domestic violence remains a pervasive social and public health crisis, crossing lines of class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. In 2017, the NYPD responded to almost 300 intimate partner-related domestic incident reports every day. In addition, there were 26 intimate partner homicides across the city. As a  2016 New York Times article pointed out, “murders in NYC have declined significantly over the last 25 years, [but] one category has remained stubbornly high: domestic violence homicides.”

“New York City’s current crime trends raise a profoundly serious question — are we appropriately allocating resources to fight domestic violence,” said Council Member Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women.

“The only way to answer this question is by ensuring that the City is approaching the needs of victims in a truly holistic fashion. Domestic violence permeates every aspect of a victim’s life: victims struggle to find stable housing, maintain a job with a living wage, and find legal assistance. My legislation seeks to address the full scope of domestic violence, and shine light on the City’s efforts to make victims whole and turn them into survivors,” Council Member Rosenthal continued.

As part of the Council Member’s legislation, Intro 351, the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) will be required to issue annual reports on the following:

  • Number of contracted legal service providers offering services in NYC’s Family Justice Centers (FJCs),
  • Number of contracted service providers offering non-legal services in the FJCs, by type of service;
  • Number of FJC clients, by total number of client visits, total number of unique clients, and the number of clients accessing each service type;
  • A list of all FJC programs and services pertaining to economic empowerment, including those that promote short- and long-term financial planning or navigation of public benefits, by type of program or service;
  • Total number of ENDGBV outreach events, by type of event;
  • Total number of ENDGBV prevention education workshops for youth; and
  • Total number of ENDGBV training for City agency staff, non-profit staff, and community members.

“The indicators that we are requiring ENDGBV to report on — such as economic empowerment initiatives available to survivors and the number of languages in which services are available — are essential to breaking the cycle of domestic and gender-based violence,” explained Council Member Rosenthal.

“We are emphasizing their importance for long-term oversight; we are highlighting the important work being done by service providers at Family Justice Centers; and we are establishing baselines to be used by future administrations, advocates, and service providers,” she continued.

Similarly, the NYPD will be mandated to release annual data (with a first report due by June 1, 2019) regarding domestic violence incidents, including:

  • Total number of domestic violence complaints, by precinct;
  • Total number of chronic domestic violence complaints, by borough;
  • Total number of domestic violence offenders, by precinct;
  • Total number of chronic offenders, by precinct;
  • Scope of NYPD outreach efforts to domestic violence victims in cases where a perpetrator violates an order of protection; and
  • Any other NYPD interventions related to domestic violence.

Requiring the City to report on a wide range of domestic violence offenses, including chronic offenses, means that policymakers, advocates, and the public will gain a better sense of the problem.

At the same time, City officials, Council Members, and advocates will have a far more comprehensive understanding of whether DV survivors are receiving sufficient assistance with critical issues, such as access to housing and homelessness prevention, and strengthening their financial security; and whether non-English speaking survivors are being fully served.

“Unfortunately, too many women and men suffer the humiliation and pain of abuse in their homes,” said co-sponsor, Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “While crime is steadily declining across New York, domestic violence remains stubbornly high. This bill, of which I am a proud co-sponsor, will create a comprehensive report submitted annually by both the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. The reports, the first of their kind, will be submitted to both the Speaker of the Council and the Mayor. The data will track information on domestic and gender-based violence, the initiatives undertaken by the City, information on chronic domestic violence complaints and chronic offenders, and other pertinent research. I thank Council Member Rosenthal for her hard work on an issue which continues to impact far too many New Yorkers.”

“I personally know the trauma of domestic violence. No one should be physically or mentally disrespected by an intimate partner. I’m a survivor and join the fight to increase awareness and end the cycle of domestic violence in our communities. There are numerous resources available to support all victims. No one should be afraid to reach out,” said co-sponsor, Council Member Diana Ayala.

“Domestic violence survivors often struggle to access support and resources safely, and this becomes even harder for immigrants and non-native English speakers. We’re grateful for Councilmember Rosenthal’s leadership on improving our reporting systems so that we can better ensure that all survivors can easily and comfortably access the services they need,” said Carlyn Cowen, Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer of the Chinese-American Planning Council.

“Thank you to Council Member Rosenthal and the City Council for passing legislation to require more detailed government reporting related to survivors of intimate partner violence,” said Stephanie Nilva, Executive Director of Day One. “Additional data can help service providers like Day One direct outreach, assistance, and prevention work to communities in need. While police activity does not always mirror the occurrence rate of domestic violence in any community, the information produced by this law will shed some light on the involvement and impact of law enforcement and the Mayor’s Office on survivors in New York City.”

“On average 40% of South Asian survivors experience gender-based violence through the course of their life, compared to the national average of 25%. In spite of this alarming need, it is clear that there are not enough resources allocated to provide comprehensive, culturally specific services to our community. This piece of legislation is a first step, of many, to address this inequity.”

“Sakhi for South Asian Women serves South Asian survivors of gender-based violence, one of the fastest growing immigrant communities in New York City,” said Executive Director Kavita Mehra. “On average 40% of South Asian survivors experience gender-based violence through the course of their life, compared to the national average of 25%. In spite of this alarming need, it is clear that there are not enough resources allocated to provide comprehensive, culturally specific services to our community. This piece of legislation is a first step, of many, to address this inequity.”

“As the nation’s largest victim assistance organization, Safe Horizon recognizes that consistent, relevant data is an important tool in addressing domestic violence and ensuring that survivors’ needs are met,” said Nora Moran, Policy Director, Government Affairs. “Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s legislation, Intro. 351-A, will require annual reports to be issued with key data on domestic violence incidents and the types of services survivors seek. We thank Council Member Rosenthal, Speaker Corey Johnson and the entire City Council for ensuring that this data is available so that we can work collaboratively as a City to address domestic violence.”

“Today, by passing a measure requiring the City of New York to regularly report on initiatives, indicators, and factors that relate to domestic abuse, as well as the prevalence of such incidents, the City Council has taken a critical step toward assuring that survivors in all boroughs have access to the resources and services they need, from shelter to law enforcement,” said Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families. “We thank Council Member Helen Rosenthal for her leadership on this legislation, which will provide a comprehensive overview of intimate partner violence in our city and the assistance offered to survivors.”

Council Member Rosenthal’s legislation was first reviewed last October at a Committee on Women oversight hearing on domestic and gender-based violence in New York. At the hearing, Committee members examined the current status of City services and support available to abuse survivors, as well as legislative tools to ensure that the City is delivering resources and services to domestic and gender-based violence survivors in the most appropriate, strategic, and effective way.

“The legislation we passed today is about reinforcing building blocks for domestic violence survivors. It’s a meaningful step on the long journey toward empowering each and every survivor,” said Council Member Rosenthal.

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