Services for Victims of Domestic Violence

Published on November 17th, 2011

Summary

To continue funding and increase both non-residential and residential programs serving victims of domestic violence and their families.  These programs include shelters, safe homes, safe dwellings, and services such as health care, health insurance, transportation, child care and outreach.

Conference Position

The Catholic Conference supports initiatives that seek to provide additional services to victims of domestic violence.

Rationale

In condemning domestic violence against women as “antithetical to the Judeo-Christian messages of love and respect for the human person,” the US Bishops in 1992 recognized that a “woman’s dignity is destroyed in a particularly vicious and heinous way when she is treated violently.”

New York State has made great strides in recent years to raise public awareness of the reality of domestic violence and to better protect women and families.  In 2010 lawmakers established new strangulation offenses in the law, extended orders of protection and allowed for electronic transmission of orders of protection. They also enacted protections for domestic violence victims who live in rent-regulated apartments. In the 2003 legislative session new laws were enacted to protect victims from unlawful video surveillance and stalking.  New laws were also enacted which provide new means of protecting families and women from violence by increasing the duration of orders of protection, and allowing the issuance of restraining orders in ex parte proceedings (where only one party to the action is present).  Another new law authorized the courts to issue “orders of conditions” requiring an abuser to stay away from the abused in cases where the defendant pleads or is found not responsible because of mental disease or defect.

New York State has also been the recipient of generous grants allowing growth of services for victims of domestic violence throughout the State.  These monies have been used to establish specialized domestic violence courts, intervention programs, prosecutor’s training and support systems for victims of domestic violence.  New York State has also established a toll-free confidential hotline for victims of domestic violence.  We commend these efforts and encourage their continuance.

In order to further prevent the tragedy of family violence we must continue to fund these valuable and effective programs, and at the same time provide emergency services, protection and shelter to victims.  We must ensure that our current facilities are able to respond to the overwhelming need for shelter and safety, including for victims with special needs, and that adequate beds are open for all in need.

You can download this document, Services for Victims of Domestic Violence, in PDF form.

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