Geneva woman fights for victims of domestic violence

In a word Dale Driscoll could be described as dedicated, determined, and informative – and so much more. Yet those words would only do partial justice to someone who has dedicated the last 5 years of their life to creating positive change. As she sat down with me in-studio on Inside the FLX on FingerLakes1.TV I was reminded again why it’s so easy to forget that domestic violence is happening every single moment, and impacts people in every economic situation, in every town – large or small – and absolutely must be addressed. I say forgotten because if you saw her at the store, or while she’s running errands – odds are that you wouldn’t realize you’re looking at someone who has seen the absolute worst life has to offer. Her message was simple: Those who have experienced domestic violence, either directly or indirectly look like every other face in the crowd. They don’t want to be noticed, their experience is something they work on daily to move on from, they struggle on a daily basis to find peace as their once peaceful world is turned completely upside down in an instant. Driscoll’s story is much like others advocating to end domestic violence, or at the very least, level the playing field. Victims and their families should not suffer, and they most-certainly should not suffer alone. This is a point that advocates for Brittany’s Law, as well as legislators in New York State have agreed on – placing accountability at the forefront of the debate. Yet, Brittany’s Law has hardly been a debate. It has garnered strong support on both sides of the aisle in New York, and has passed the New York State Senate five years consecutively. The problem at this point, in Driscoll’s estimation, is that Brittany’s Law needs a fair shot at getting to the Assembly floor for a vote. Currently, the law that would create a violent offender’s registry has remained stalled in committee – waiting for a vote.

She believes 2016 will be different. As session sets to begin in January, just a month from now, Driscoll has renewed hope about what this year could mean for Brittany’s Law. She is proof, after losing a daughter and granddaughter in a senseless act of domestic violence – that tragedy does not have to spell disaster. She has persevered, she has remained determined and equally focused – keeping her eye on the goal – to see Brittany’s Law signed into active law. In 2009, Helen Buchel and Brittany Passalacqua were taken from Driscoll far before their time should have been up. Those lives were taken by John Brown. A man who was no stranger to acts of violence. He assaulted his own child, who was an infant at the time, caused permanent brain damage, and was subsequently barred from being in the presence of that child.The state is obligated to protect society from those who commit violent acts, like assault or murder. Yet, this perfectly reflects the grand flaw in the system. Once the “debt” is paid – in this instance was a short prison stay – the state all but washes their hands of any accountability. That is why Brittany’s Law is so important, and that is why Driscoll remains determined to see an end to state-ordered victim abandonment. In her time working with Senator Nozzolio and Assemblyman Kolb she has learned that the cost to implement Brittany’s Law would be mild, compared to other expenditures at the state-level. The cost to maintain the system would also be slight, which is one of the many reasons why implementing a violent offender’s registry – where those convicted of a violent crime would be subject to violent offender status seems like such a no-brainer. It remains one of the most-silenced pieces of legislation in the entire state, and despite the importance of keeping New Yorkers safe – Driscoll says the only way a difference can be made is if New Yorkers voice that concern to their representatives. Domestic violence is dominated by silence, and the legislation faces an equally stifling problem.Story by Josh Durso for FingerLakes1.comFollow Dale Driscoll on Twitter: @helensmommaTo see the complete interview with Dale Driscoll on Inside the FLX check out the podcast here or below…

Also on FingerLakes1.com