November 4, 2016

New York City Hall, NYPD Announce Slate of Policies to Reduce Barriers to Safety Faced by Victims of Domestic Violence

De Blasio Administration protecting survivors’ rights, safety, paychecks and housing

Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Ferreras-Copeland introduce legislation to provide Paid Safe Leave for domestic violence victim

(Photo: Press office NY city hall)

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray recently announced a package of policies to protect domestic violence survivors, their livelihoods and their homes. Together with Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Mayor de Blasio will protect survivors and their families by introducing Paid Safe Leave legislation, which will allow survivors to take paid leave from work to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty. The City will also put housing lawyers in every Family Justice Center to aggressively defend survivors’ housing rights, and work with the NYPD to root out chronic offenders by instituting new practices to ensure law enforcement targets resources on the highest priority abusers and contacts every victim to ensure safety after an Order of Protection has been violated.
“Domestic violence is a public safety menace in every neighborhood, affecting every population, and it’s by confronting domestic violence that we will end the vicious cycle that perpetuates it,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are sending a loud and clear message – we will not tolerate domestic violence, survivors have the City’s full support, and abusers must be held accountable. In the 21st century in the greatest city on earth, those who have already suffered at the hands of those they love should never have to choose between their safety and a paycheck or their home.”
“Every day the NYPD gets roughly 800 domestic violence calls from every social and economic class and from all over the city,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, co-Chair of the Commission on Gender Equity. “Domestic violence is disturbingly common, and almost every one of us knows someone who has lived in fear of physical or emotional violence. It is time for us to come together as New Yorkers, protect the rights of victims and hold those who abuse others accountable. A safe city means a city that is safe for everyone – women, children and men.”
Across the country, jurisdictions have struggled to effectively reduce rates of domestic violence. In New York City, where crime is at historic lows, domestic violence persists. The de Blasio Administration is taking a new, interagency approach to break down silos in social service agencies and law enforcement to ensure that victims of domestic violence and their children are given the tools they need to seek safety from abuse.
To fight domestic violence, the City is protecting the paychecks, safety, housing and rights of survivors, as well as instituting new practices to ensure law enforcement is triaging domestic violence cases with the most sophisticated and effective approaches:
Protecting survivors' paychecks
No New Yorker should ever stay in a dangerous situation because they fear missing paid work to address safety needs, or face loss of income for recovering from abuse. Yet, victims of intimate partner violence across the US report an average of 7.2 days of work-related lost productivity per year.
In 2014, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation expanding Paid Sick Leave to half a million more New Yorkers, ensuring that employees who work in NYC for more than 80 hours a year can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave each year to care for themselves or a family member. Together with Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the Mayor will protect survivors and their families by introducing Paid Safe Leave legislation, which will allow survivors to take paid leave from work to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty.
Protecting survivors' housing
No survivor should ever lose their housing because of an abuser. If a person has been abused, we guarantee them a lawyer to help protect their rights and their housing.
Beginning immediately, the City will protect housing for survivors and their families by placing housing lawyers in Family Justice Centers – the City’s comprehensive resource and support centers for victims of domestic violence – in every borough to vigorously pursue every available option under law, including fighting to get the abuser off the lease, restricting an abuser's access to a survivor's home, transferring a lease from an abuser to a survivor, or end a lease without penalty if the survivor wants to move. 311, advocates and the NYPD will refer survivors to the City’s Family Justice Centers and proactively mention housing as part of its script of resources.
Protecting survivors from repeat abuse
Every abuser should know that New York City takes abuse seriously and is prioritizing quick, effective enforcement. Every victim should know that the NYPD is here to help.
Beginning immediately, the NYPD will use a new prioritization tool to track chronic abuse to ensure that officers are targeting enforcement resources toward apprehending the riskiest abusers first. And in cases where an offender violates an Order of Protection, the NYPD will also reach out to victims to connect them to safety supports. In every domestic violence case, NYPD will use precision policing to identify and target chronic domestic violence offenders.
Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel said, "Mayor de Blasio's announcement is a loud and clear statement to all survivors of domestic violence in New York City: We stand with you and for you. Your job, your home, and your well-being should never have to be bargained in exchange for your safety. By providing options to survivors and holding offenders accountable, this Administration is once again proving its commitment to survivors and their families."

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