Ponder This: Closer look at domestic violence (Part III)

An official memo was released by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (NYSCADV). In bold letters it stated…

Protect Rights. Promote Justice. Prevent Domestic Violence.

The memo went on to state why they were against Brittany’s Law and were lobbying against its passage. Why after all this time were they speaking out against it? Why would they not want to join forces and get Brittany’s Law on the books? Not only was it the first time the coalition spoke against the bill, it was also the year Speaker Sheldon Silver was no longer there to block it from going to the Assembly floor for a vote. Without his power and influence, it would seem NYSCADV was nervous about getting their funding cut.

NYSCADV gets taxpayer dollars from the State of New York to house and care for victims of abuse once the abuse takes place. It then redistributes funding to various counties, according to needs. It is an organization which deals with victims after the fact. It does not prevent them from occurring. From the memo, I will quote two of the main reasons given for not wanting Brittany’s Law passed.

1st quote:

“Strongly oppose the Senate’s proposal for the creation of a domestic violence offender registry. A registry would create harmful unintended consequences for the victims and their families and would DIVERT FUNDING away from survivor support systems.” We called the members of the Senate that voted no on the bill, with the drastic change in the bill the members could no longer say the bill was too broad, this year everyone who voted no quoted this line “A registry would create harmful unintended consequences for the victims and their families” except for the clause “Divert Funding”.

What the NYSCADV failed to mention to the members of the assembly is that the threat already exists for the victim. Any time a victim calls 911 or requests an order of protection the victim fears retaliation. Fear of being beaten or even death. For this reason, I proposed to Senator Cathy Young, who will be taking over the bill in the 2016-2017 session, that we make an amendment to the bill to enforce stiff penalties for any type of retaliation upon the victim.

2nd quote:

“Support the Assembly’s proposal to create a NYC family eviction prevention housing supplement program that includes survivors of domestic violence.”

New York City was mentioned twice in their memo. They seem to have forgotten Upstate New York even exists.

I’m not suggesting the NYSCADV does not do good things for victims of abuse. What I am saying is that all their programs are for post abuse, not preventative. Housing victims of abuse are commendable, however, there isn’t enough being done to prevent it from happening in the first place. Education and tougher laws are key to ending domestic violence.

Also, the NYSCADV has asked the State of New York for fifty million dollars for supportive housing projects. Will most of these taxpayer’s dollars be applied to downstate projects? Is it that the NYSCADV is afraid of losing funding if Brittany’s Law passes? Most, if not all shelters in the state are only able to house victims for up to three months. That is not enough time to break the cycle of abuse in a woman’s life. After the time is up, where is she likely to go? Back to the abuser she left, especially if children are involved and she has no car and no sustaining employment. The only thing some woman accomplish after three months away is angering their attacker. The vicious cycle worsens.

Where does the bill stand in this new legislative year? As in previous years, we must start from square one all over again. In the Senate, it must pass through both the Codes and Finance committees before going before the full Senate for a vote. Unfortunately, because of the additional committees, it’s usually early June before it gets the vote of the Senate. It isn’t unheard if a bill is voted on after the session closes, but the Assembly Speaker would have to surpass the committee where the bill always stalls. How may you help? Below is a list of Assembly members to contact to voice your support for the bill.

Your name would never be released without your consent:

Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie
[email protected]
718-654-6539 – NYC
518-455-3791 – ALB

Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell
[email protected]
212-866-3970 – NYC
518-455-5603 – ALB

Assemblyman Brian Kolb
[email protected]
315-781-2030 – GVA
518-455-3751 – ALB

Assemblyman Bob Oaks
[email protected]
315-946-5166 – Lyons
518-455-5688 – ALB

For more information, please visit our website. The website will give you more information and another view on the response from NYSCADV. You can click here to go to Brittany’s Law website.

I would like to thank Senator Mike Nozzolio and Assembly Brian Kolb for the unyielding work they have done to bring this bill to law. Mike’s determination has been relentless and everlasting, and no matter when it gets passed he will be considered an integral part of the passage of the bill. As Senator of our region, he will be missed greatly. Even though his term is near to the end for him, he is still in contact with his colleagues about this bill. Because of a recent conversation he had with Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, we now have Wayne County Sheriff’s Department on board with our fight.

I would also like to thank Sheriff Barry Virts, and Brittany’s Paternal grandmother, Joan Tandle for all the help she has given, and Thomas and Linda Randolph for all the work they have done for the past two years and Chris and Kevin Retzer. There are too many members on social media who have stood by me and pushed me along when at times I felt like giving up. To all of you, thank you doesn’t seem adequate.

For the hotline number of your local domestic violence program call the New York State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906. This is a multi-language number. For the hard of hearing or deaf call 711.

This is the final edition in a special three part edition of Dale Driscoll’s ‘Ponder This’ column, which looked at domestic violence, challenges in fighting for legislation like Brittany’s Law – and much more. Read part one by clicking here, and part two by clicking here. Next month her column will return to covering politics and life in New York.

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