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Hochul introduces new measures to address domestic violence

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a groundbreaking state guidance for law enforcement agencies on Tuesday, emphasizing a trauma-sensitive approach to domestic incidents. The new Law Enforcement Domestic Incident Model Policy focuses on safeguarding victims, officers, and preserving crime evidence while connecting victims to critical support services.

The initiative is accompanied by a $1 million commitment to enhance the state’s Red Flag Law, designed to prevent those exhibiting threatening behaviors from accessing firearms. This funding aims to provide training to community organizations, ensuring more effective implementation of the law. In a noteworthy move, Governor Hochul signed two pivotal domestic violence prevention laws, following a roundtable with survivors in Albany. Echoing her personal connection to the cause, Hochul remarked, “Our family’s history in supporting domestic abuse survivors drives my administration’s commitment to offering survivors the essential resources for recovery.”

The campaign against domestic violence in New York further gained traction as both Kelli Owens, Executive Director at the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), and Safe Horizon CEO Liz Roberts endorsed Hochul’s efforts. Highlighting the importance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Owens emphasized collaborative efforts with survivors to shape future state policies. Concurrently, Roberts stressed the interconnected threats of gun and domestic violence, expressing gratitude towards Hochul’s administration for championing survivor voices.

In light of the 2022 racial hate-motivated shootings in Buffalo, Governor Hochul had previously expanded the Red Flag Law’s application. The recent focus of the state has been to continuously evolve its policies in line with current challenges. To this end, the newly introduced Model Policy includes recommendations for officers in assessing threats, obtaining evidence, understanding trauma, and ensuring victim privacy through the discretion of body-worn cameras. While agencies have the freedom to tailor the policy to their community’s needs, the overarching goal remains the same: to create a safer New York for all.