Brittany’s Law Will Combat Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to consider how the scourge of domestic violence impacts our families and to focus on ways to prevent the unacceptable number of cases. Domestic violence comes in many forms, including— isolation, verbal abuse, threats, emotional and physical abuse, and sexual abuse. In all cases of domestic violence, the abusive party tries to gain power over their victims and each has devastating effects. It is my sincere hope that through awareness and legislation we can root it out of New York. I have long advocated for Brittany’s Law, which would create a registry of violent offenders much like the state’s sex offender registry. By giving New Yorkers the tools they need to keep safe, we could prevent tragedy before it hits home.
 
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NEW YORK MUST BE CURBED
 
According to the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, there were 65 intimate partner homicides and an astounding 12,073 charges of strangulation statewide in 2014. Of the more than 100,000 assaults reported to police agencies outside of New York City, nearly 29,000 were from intimate partners. The New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard shows that the number of probation cases added to local department caseloads has jumped 20 percent since 2013.
 
There are tens of thousands of families each year dealing with the horrific consequences of domestic violence and the physical and emotional damage from incidences often has a lasting impact. For information and resources regarding domestic violence, visit http://opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nydata/index.html.
 
BRITTANY’S LAW IS AN IMPORTANT STEP
 
Brittany’s Law was born out of a tragedy within my district. In 2009, 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua was murdered along with her mother, Helen Buchel, in Geneva. The two were killed by John Edward Brown, a parolee serving time for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Ms. Buchel was unaware of Brown’s violent history.
 
Year after year I have fought for Brittany’s Law’s passage in the Assembly. And, year after year it has passed the Senate, but not the Assembly. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther is the Assembly Majority sponsor of the bill (A.1833), of which I am a co-sponsor, but despite this bipartisan support, the bill has languished. How many more incidences will it take before we pass this life-saving public safety measure? While this month is set aside to shed light on these terrible crimes, we must remember they happen every single day. I sincerely urge my colleagues to pass this common-sense legislation in 2016 to help give potential victims a much-needed lifeline.
 
What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter

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