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Assemblymember Gabryszak Helps Protect Victims of Domestic Violence |

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Assemblymember Gabryszak Helps Protect Victims of Domestic Violence
Assemblymember Gabryszak Helps Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

 

          Protecting victims of domestic violence and ensuring that their abusers are properly punished is critical. Domestic violence does not discriminate – it affects families of all racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds. During this past legislative session, I helped pass measures to provide more assistance and increased protections for victims of domestic violence, while making certain that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

          Domestic violence is still a major problem in New York, with 450,000 incidents reported each year.[1] Ever since I came to the Assembly in 2006, working to help domestic violence victims has been a top priority of mine. I fought hard this session to pass a comprehensive bill to increase protections for victims of domestic violence and provide harsher punishments for violent offenders (A.10624). The legislation – which is expected to become law – helps victims by:

  • establishing the crime of “Aggravated Family Offense” as a class E felony to ensure that defendants with a history of domestic violence who repeatedly commit misdemeanor offenses are prosecuted as felons;
  • creating a new class A misdemeanor of “Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree” when a person causes physical injury to another person or to a family or household member of the person, which also allows courts to consider prior violations of an order of protection when determining the defendant’s bail;
  • requiring the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) to establish a domestic violence fatality review team to examine factors involved in domestic violence deaths and near-deaths;
  • strengthening and broadening the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) – which allows victims attempting to escape from actual or threatened domestic violence to establish new mailing addresses with the secretary of state in order to prevent abusers from finding them;
  • permitting victims of domestic violence to obtain information from their health insurance companies by alternative means or at alternative locations, and prohibit insurers from publicly disclosing the address, telephone number or other information without direct consent from the policyholder; and
  • prohibiting a person who is the subject of an order of protection associated with a deceased person, or who has been charged with causing the death of the deceased person, from having control of the disposition of the deceased’s remains.

               

          In instances of domestic violence, the offender has an intimate relationship with his or her victim. By passing legislation that further protects these victims, while enhancing the penalties for their abusers, we can help address the emotional trauma and financial hardships that accompany the physical pain in domestic violence cases. I will continue my fight against domestic violence and help ensure that New York State is doing everything in its power to aid domestic violence victims and those who work to convict these violent criminals.


[1] www.opdv.state.ny.us/help/fss/theproblem.html#facts

 

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