Domestic violence advocates, allies and survivors joined with the New York State Legislature this week to raise awareness of domestic violence issues throughout the state and support measures to provide critical resources and services for victims. The activities included:
- Passage of resolutions in both the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate proclaiming May 8, 2018, as Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Day in New York State, sponsored by Assemblywoman Aridia Espinal and Senator Joseph Robach;
- Introductions of NYSCADV staff on the floor of each chamber by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Senator Joseph Robach, along with a discussion of NYSCADV's work on behalf of member programs throughout the state;
- The Assembly's passage of 11 bills aimed at strengthening protections for survivors of domestic violence and offering support for survivors seeking to reclaim their lives;
- A sea of legislators and staff wearing purple ties, suits, jackets and ribbons, signifying their support for domestic violence-related issues;
- The convergence of nearly 200 domestic violence advocates, allies and survivors in the state Capitol to call on the New York State Legislature to support intervention initiatives to respond to domestic violence when it happens and increase state funding to prevent domestic violence from occurring in the first place;
- A presentation by special guest Kelli Owens, Governor Cuomo's Director of Women's Affairs, during which she noted the Administration's concern for the experiences of domestic violence survivors and their families and responded to questions about the most pressing concerns and needs of domestic violence survivors and programs across the state;
- A breakfast for advocates, allies and survivors with Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, who has championed the rights of domestic violence survivors throughout her legislative career and crafted meaningful legislation to provide essential services to individuals in highly traumatic circumstances; and,
- Meetings with dozens of Assembly and Senate representatives to raise awareness and seek support for measures to strengthen responses to domestic violence and also prevent it from happening in the first place.
"This was a magnificent display of support for domestic violence survivors and an unusual show of unity in the Assembly and Senate," said Connie Neal, executive director of NYSCADV. "When we pass laws and fund initiatives to support survivors of domestic violence and their children, encourage healthy behaviors across our state, and improve the quality of life for all people, social norms begin to change. Only then will we see a reduction in the incidence of domestic violence and increase the level of safety for individuals
and families across New York."