(click on memo title above for a pdf copy)
We are urging the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo to ensure that the FY ’15-’16 budget includes the support necessary for domestic violence programs across New York State to provide critical services that are essential to the safety and well-being of thousands of victims of domestic violence.
As a statewide membership organization, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence is working on behalf of domestic violence programs across the state to ensure that the unique needs of domestic violence programs are factored into the final state budget. We are deeply concerned for the safety of thousands of New Yorkers from urban, suburban, and rural communities. Across the State of New York there are 162 domestic violence shelters who serve over 15,500 victims of domestic violence and their children. In addition, there are 87 non-residential domestic violence programs which serve more than 41,600 victims annually.
Over the past year, it is clear that high profile cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking have focused unprecedented attention on the experiences of victims and subsequent system responses. Also, with emerging spotlights on college campuses, professional sports, and the military, across the nation more victims are coming forward for help, at the same time that victim service providers are facing serious gaps with available resources.
To translate this into concrete numbers, data collected in the 2013 yearly census conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) shows that New York State is #3 in the country regarding demand for domestic violence services. In the course of one day, more than 1,158 hotline calls were answered, and more than 2,487 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. On that same day, there were 572 requests for services that went unmet due to a lack of available staff and funding. This is especially concerning in light of the fact that 119 domestic violence advocate staff positions in New York State were eliminated during the course of that same year.
In addition, a report from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence found that while homicides decreased statewide by 6.5% in 2013, intimate partner homicides increased by 16%. Data from the same report also revealed that in 2013 police across New York State responded to 468,241 domestic incident calls. And, of the 300,236 orders of protection issued by courts in New York State in 2013, 209,729 were required to be registered in the Unified Court System’s Domestic Violence Registry.
The needs for victims of domestic violence in New York are significant, and now is precisely the time to affirm our collective commitment to ending domestic violence by investing in these vital programs. We are asking that the legislature and governor consider the following points while working to finalize the FY ’15-’16 New York State budget:
Prevent the elimination of the federal TANF funding for non-residential domestic violence services and provide $6 million to support these critical services for domestic violence victims;
Support a 5.5% increase in the domestic violence shelter per diem rate to help shore up long standing gaps in operational funding;
Create a state-originating funding stream for domestic violence services in New York by establishing a $17.25 million budget line in the public protection budget that will be dispersed through non-competitive formula grants (research has shown the cost of a single homicide can be well over $17.25 million - we are requesting funds at this level to demonstrate New York State’s commitment to providing critical domestic violence advocacy services to help prevent the far-reaching tragedies of homicides in the coming year);
Ensure that the supportive housing program created by the Mortgage Settlement Proceeds Trust Fund Account contains a specific funding stream dedicated to the unique supportive housing needs of domestic violence victims;
Stabilize funding for critical civil legal services for domestic violence victims statewide through the use of non-competitive formula grants;
Ensure that the Governor's Uniform Campus Sexual Assault Bill is passed and includes meaningful collaboration with - and funding for - community based domestic violence programs to provide the support to colleges and universities that the policy mandates; and
Keep the Governor's proposed non-profit capital improvement support program so that domestic violence programs can make much needed upgrades.
In conclusion, we urge the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo to implement strategies within the budget to demonstrate New York State’s commitment to survivors of domestic violence, so that no one asking for shelter or other domestic violence services will ever be turned away. Quite simply, if we are not able to reach this goal, preventable tragedies that are happening at this very moment across our state will continue.
 New York State Office of Child And Family Services. 2013. Domestic Violence Prevention Act 2013 Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature. Retrieved on February 3, 2015 from http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/reports/2013%20DV%20annual%20report.pdf
National Network to End Domestic Violence (2014) Domestic Violence Counts: Census 2013 Report – US State/Territory Summaries Compiled. Retrieved on January 22, 2015 from http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2013/AllStateSummariesMerged.pdf
 New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (2014). New York State Domestic Violence Dashboard Project: 2013 Data. Retrieved on January 22, 2015 from http://www.opdv.ny.gov/statistics/nydata/2013/nys2013data.pdf.
 Delisi, Kosloski, Sween, et. al. 2010. Murder by Numbers: Monetary Costs Imposed by a Sample of Homicide Offenders. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. 21(4). P 501-503.