PUBLIC POLICY & LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY
NYSCADV plays an instrumental role in the passage, implementation and enforcement of state and federal legislation that improves the lives of domestic violence survivors and their families. NYSCADV’s priorities include increasing funding for domestic violence programs and services, expanding housing options for domestic violence survivors, improvements to New York’s criminal and family court systems, and ensuring equity for all domestic violence survivors.
In addition, NYSCADV consults with a diverse group of domestic violence service providers, advocates, survivors and stakeholders to develop a public policy platform that addresses a wide range of domestic violence issues. NYSCADV holds an annual Budget Advocacy Day and an annual Legislative Day of Action to educate legislators and regulators on pressing issues and to ensure the voices of domestic violence survivors are heard. Check out our 2021 legislative summary below, which highlights many of this year’s legislative successes, including passage of the DV advocate privilege law and, separately, a law to raise the age of marriage to 18.
NYSCADV also is working to increase the amount of funding available for DV survivors and their families, and the local DV service providers who support them. Available funding for New York’s DV services has either decreased or remained flat for many years preceding the COVID-19 Pandemic, drastically impacting the ability of DV service providers to keep up with demand for DV services. For example, since 2018, New York’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) assistance grants – the grants provided to victim services organizations around the state -- decreased $136 million. Similarly, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding earmarked in the state budget for non-residential DV services has increased only 7% since its initial appropriation more than 20 years ago.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has made these financial challenges even more acute. Despite increases in the demand for DV services during the public health crisis, funding for domestic violence services during the Pandemic is declining because New York’s system of funding DV services is based on the number of DV survivors residing in emergency shelters each night. DV agencies are not reimbursed if DV survivors avoid emergency shelter, as they are doing during the Pandemic. And DV agencies are not reimbursed if shelter beds are intentionally kept open to comply with New York’s social distancing, quarantine and/or isolation requirements. This means that many DV agencies are providing more services to more DV survivors with less funding available. This is not sustainable.