Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking Women’s Equality Agenda will ensure more victims of domestic violence can find safety from abuse by expanding options for pursuing protection under the law.
Under current New York State law, victims of domestic violence face tremendous barriers to securing protection from an abuser.
- In order for a victim to obtain a court order protecting the victim from his or her abuser, also known as an order of protection, he or she must testify in front of their abuser in court.
- Between 30 percent and 77 percent of victims of domestic violence report that the process of obtaining and the act of receiving a civil order of protection ends the violence, demonstrating that this process is essential in the struggle against domestic violence. However, requiring a domestic violence victim to be in physical proximity with an abuser in court may be traumatic, unsafe, intimidating and may ultimately influence testimony.
- New York law should ensure that the process of obtaining an order of protection eases the burden on a victim’s ability to obtain protection from his or her abuser.
The Women’s Equality Agenda will reduce the barriers that victims of domestic violence face when filing for an order of protection.
- The Women’s Equality Agenda will amend New York State law to permit a victim of domestic violence seeking an order of protection to provide testimony via video conference.
- This amendment to the law will ensure that no victim is discouraged from filing an order of protection out of extreme fear of facing an abuser in court.
- Testimony by video conference will be optional, ensuring that victims retain an active choice in determining how best to pursue justice.