Protecting Domestic Violence Victims
New York State has long been a leader in providing strong criminal and civil protections for domestic violence victims. The State has enacted new laws, including the NY SAFE Act, designed to protect and provide resources to domestic violence victims and their families.
Did you know…
- Intimate partner homicides account for roughly 50% of women killed each year.
- Women are 3.5 times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.
- Women who have been threatened or assaulted with a firearm are 20 times more likely to be murdered than other victims.
- The risk of homicides in the home is drastically increased when firearms exist in the home.
- In 2011, 30% of intimate partner homicides in Long Island and Upstate New York were caused by firearms. In 2010, 46% of such homicides were caused by firearms.
- In 2005, nearly 15% of the rejected firearm transfer or permit applications were based on the applicant having been convicted of a domestic violence offense or being subject to a restraining order.
Note: The statistics cited above are taken from the following reports and publications: “Domestic Homicide in New York State,” published by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services annually since 2007; “Homicide Trends in the United States,” published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006, and cited in a fact sheet published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Gun Policy and Research; “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multistate Case Control Study,” published in the American Journal of Public Health, 2003; “Enforcing Domestic Violence Firearms Prohibitions,” published by Andrew Klein, Ph.D., 2006; “Background Checks for Firearms Transfers 2005,” published by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006; and “Homicide Trends in the United States,” published by Fox JA, Zawitz MW, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006.
The SAFE Act enhances protections for domestic violence victims by:
- Requiring courts to suspend or revoke the state pistol permit when issuing an order of protection or when addressing the willful violation of an order of protection when the court finds a substantial risk that the individual may use or threaten to use a firearm unlawfully against the person for whose protection the order is issued.
- Requiring individuals who own a firearm and live with someone who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence-related misdemeanor, involuntarily committed, or is under an order of protection, to ensure the firearm is safely stored and secured.
In addition to the SAFE Act, the passage in 2012 of Governor Cuomo’s Domestic Violence Omnibus Bill enhanced the State’s protections of domestic violence victims by:
- Elevating to felonies certain misdemeanors committed against a family member if the offenses were committed by an individual with a prior conviction, within the past five years, of an enumerated offense against a family member.
- Requiring judges to consider the history of use and possession of firearms when determining bail or release of defendant charged with a domestic violence offense.
- Establishing a statewide-level fatality review team to review and make recommendations concerning domestic violence-related deaths and near deaths.
- Enhancing services and resources to victims, including a program that maintains the confidentiality of victims' residential information. (www.dos.ny.gov/ACP)