Nozzolio fires back at coalition over Brittany’s Law memo

When one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in New York State came out against the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, more commonly known as Brittany’s Law, which would create a violent offenders registry supporters of the law felt betrayed by those fighting for the same cause.Earlier this month, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) released written opposition to Brittany’s Law. The memo outlined the pieces of legislation and budget items that the coalition would support or oppose this year. It began, pointing out that the NYSCADV “Strongly oppose[s] the Senate’s proposal for the creation of a domestic violence offender registry.”It continued, “The registry would create harmful unintended consequences for victims and their families, and would divert funding away from survivor support services.” Brittany’s Law advocates have long-heard the suggestion that a violent offenders registry would create unintended consequences for those looking to get a clean start after they have served their time. However, the tone of this memo was decisively different than previous messages. It suggested that a violent offenders registry would have a greater impact on victims — creating unintended consequences for those individuals. FingerLakes1.com spoke to Dale Driscoll immediately after the memo was released, which took her by complete surprise. Her fear was that this might have an everlasting impact on Brittany’s Law, and that for the first time — might not even pass the Senate.On Wednesday, Sen. Michael Nozzolio, Chairman of the New York State Codes Committee, who also served for over a decade as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections, released a statement joining others in speaking out against the NYSCADV’s memo.Driscoll has worked tirelessly for more than six years with Sen. Nozzolio, and legislators across the state to help prevent others from experiencing the same torment she has over those years. She lost her daughter and granddaughter, Helen Buchel and Brittany Passalacqua to a senseless act of domestic violence in 2009, which could have been prevented by a violent offenders registry — like the one that would be created through Brittany’s Law. Sen. Nozzolio’s statement read in part:“This so-called advocacy group appears to be more concerned with the welfare of those individuals who actually inflict violence against the innocent victims of domestic violence. The memo is callously insensitive to domestic violence victims, is disheartening, hypocritical and emotionally traumatizing to those who have suffered harm and serious injury from the violent perpetrators that this Coalition is unbelievably now trying to protect.”In the statement, Driscoll continued that the assertion made by the NYSCADV in their memo “defies all logic and reason.” She went on, “Among the more ridiculously absurd assertions, the NYSCADV claims that potential victims are at greater risk if they obtain information that lets them know they are in a relationship with a person previously convicted of domestic violence.”Sen. Nozzolio’s statement continued:“Unfortunately, it appears that the NYSCADV is more preoccupied with protecting criminals, as they actively oppose Brittany’s Law which at its core is about protecting victims by empowering them with information.”Driscoll concluded that “Brittany’s Law is a preventative measure, our goal is to prevent cases of domestic violence before they occur.”Assembly Democrats and bill sponsors, Aileen Gunther, Marcos Crespo and Matthew Titone have been staunch advocates and partners to Sen. Nozzolio in their bi-partisan efforts to see Brittany’s Law pass in both houses of the New York State Legislature. Sen. Nozzolio’s statement concluded:“Domestic violence affects all races, religions, ages and classes; it does not discriminate. In the United States, every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten. By putting new safeguards in place to track violent offenders and keep our communities informed of their whereabouts, Brittany’s Law will undoubtedly save lives. Rather than focusing on protecting the rights of criminals, NYSCADV should be joining our efforts to protect the rights of victims by passing Brittany’s Law and enacting tougher sentencing laws for violent criminals, and reinforcing laws to protect women and children from domestic violence.”Last year, Dale Driscoll sat down with Josh Durso on Inside the FLX to discuss Brittany’s Law, where she gave an overview of how it could help prevent acts of domestic violence.

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