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NYSCADV advocates for the passage, implementation and enforcement of comprehensive legislation at the State and Federal level that meaningfully improves the lives of domestic violence survivors and their families in New York State. Each year, NYSCADV consults with a diverse group of domestic violence service providers, advocates, survivors and stakeholders to develop a proactive policy agenda that addresses a wide range of domestic violence issues. NYSCADV holds an annual Budget Advocacy Day in February and a Legislative Day of Action in May to educate legislators and regulators on pressing issues and to ensure the voices of domestic violence survivors are heard.

During the 2019 state legislative session, more legislation supporting domestic violence survivors and their families was signed into law than in any prior legislative session. In fact, more than 50 domestic violence-related bills were approved, including:

  • The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, which gives judges the discretion to reduce the sentences of DV survivors convicted of committing crimes in self-defense;
  • A bill ensuring victims have a right to call for emergency assistance without getting penalized by landlords;
  • Legislation to significantly simplify the process for domestic violence survivors  to break residential leases or rental agreements due to a fear for their safety;
  • A bill providing employees who are domestic violence victims a reasonable accommodation to take time off from work to obtain services or attend court proceedings; and,
  • Legislation to simplify and expand the language in the Victim Rights Notice provided to survivors by law enforcement when they respond to an incident.

Additional information about these and other new laws is contained in our 2019 Legislative Summary.

In 2020, NYSCADV intends to work on the following initiatives to strengthen prevention and intervention responses to domestic violence:

  • NYSCADV is committed to working closely with state legislative and regulatory leaders and New York’s domestic violence service providers to abolish outdated policies to ensure that victims in need of shelter and other services are able to obtain the support they need immediately and without conditions.
  • NYSCADV will work with the New York State Legislature to ensure significant funding is allocated for primary prevention programs that address the root causes and conditions that make domestic violence possible. These strategies include working with children and adults to set expectations for healthy communication; working with schools, caregivers, workplaces and other community settings to change behaviors; saturating communities with healthy relationship messaging and promoting safe and responsible bystander behaviors; and, promoting policies and cultivating leaders who set expectations for healthy relationships and communities.
  • Together with other state coalitions and the National Network to End Domestic Violence, NYSCADV will advocate for federal funding proposals, such as the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, the Victims of Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act, to ensure they address the needs of domestic violence victims.