Consortium Focuses On New Domestic Violence Protection Laws in 2012
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Members of dozens of police, government and community organizations met for an update Friday morning from the Rochester Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium at its 13th annual legislative forum.
In 2011, the Empire Justice Center said several new domestic violence related bills were signed into law. They include everything from helping establish confidential mailing addresses for victims of domestic violence, to developing better training for law enforcement officers when investigating sexual assault crimes.
While the Friday event was a chance to look back on those legislative accomplishments of this past year, advocates also talked about what's on the agenda for 2012.
There are several bills both federal and in New York state the consortium is focused on for 2012. The Aggravated Family Offense bill is one of those. It would allow previous convictions of certain crimes committed against intimates or family members, even misdemeanors, to serve as bumped up felony crimes.
"The laws have changed dramatically and much of that has come from not only victims but these organizations like Safer, ABW, and others to put pressure on the legislature," said New York State Senator Joe Robach, (R).
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and most cases are still never reported to police.
"All of these silent witnesses here are women and children who have died just in this area alone. It's a very serious problem and none of these victims thought that it would happen to them," said Janet Chaize, Alternatives for Battered Women.
District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who has has a specific bureau dedicated to domestic violence crime, says she re-organized her office to put her all of the victim bureaus under one umbrella, allowing certain assistant district attorneys to focus on those kinds of crimes.
"It happens in so many different avenues and so many different walks of life, from cities to suburbs, and it can be reflected in so many different types of crimes," said Doorley. "Today's summit is really a good example of getting together and really focusing on what kind of legislation needs to be put in place to protect victims of domestic violence."