October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence has a devastating impact on families in New York and across the nation that is both lasting and tragic. Each year, millions of victims suffer at the hands of an intimate partner, with far too many being taken from family and loved ones forever. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner. As such, more than 10 million men and women are abused each year.
 
During October, which is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is critical to examine the impact of domestic violence, raise awareness for those suffering from it and make an extra effort to find a way to mitigate its horror.
 
This year, national “Wear Purple Day” is Thursday, Oct. 24; it’s a time for compassion, reflection and, ultimately, action. The New York State Assembly Minority Conference stands firmly committed to empowering victims and law enforcement through support and, when needed, legislation. Our Helping Abuse Victims and Enhancing Protections report highlights some key findings and potential solutions to help eliminate the scourge of domestic violence.    
 
NEW LAWS HELP STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS
 
Recently, a number of domestic violence prevention bills were passed into law. Among them were measures that had bipartisan support and sponsorship and were passed unanimously. Our Conference is proud to have supported bills that:

  • Prohibit the illegal sharing of intimate images, also known as “Revenge Porn” (A.5981);
  • Allow victims of domestic violence to make a special request to vote by mail under certain circumstances (A.219-A);
  • Allow a victim of a family offense to file a complaint with any local law enforcement agency in the state, regardless of where the incident took place (A.4467-A);
  • Expand the definition of domestic violence in the Social Services Law to include identity theft, grand larceny and coercion (A.5608); and
  • Extend the time a victim has to file a civil suit to recover damages for domestic violence-related injuries from one year to two years from the day of the incident (A.1945).

BRITTANY’S LAW COULD PREVENT TRAGEDY
 
Unfortunately, Brittany’s Law, another powerful domestic violence prevention tool, has not yet been passed despite overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle in both the Assembly and Senate.
 
The law is named for Brittany Passalacqua, who was only 12 years old when she and her mother, Helen Buchel, were murdered in 2009. Their killer, John Edward Brown, Helen’s boyfriend at the time, was on parole following his incarceration for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Had Helen been able to access information about Brown’s violent past, this tragedy could have been avoided.
 
Brittany’s Law continues to be a priority. Each year, I call for its passage, and I will continue to do so as I believe it will help prevent future tragedies and honor the memory of Brittany and Helen. New Yorkers, and Brittany’s family, deserve no less.
 
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@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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