Johns Works To End Domestic Violence, Support Survivors
Assemblyman Mark Johns (R,C,I,Ref-Webster) joined members of the Assembly Minority Conference today at a press conference in Albany unveiling their report on ending domestic violence in New York state. The report, A Safe Haven: Helping Abuse Victims and Enhancing Protections, is the result of a statewide task force that Johns and his colleagues hosted to bring together law enforcement, advocate organizations, shelters, survivors, and others to discuss ways the state could better support those affected by domestic violence and help curb the disturbing increase of domestic violence incidents upstate New York has seen in recent years.
“There is nothing more important than having a safe place to call home. However, too many New Yorkers – particularly women and children – don’t feel safe because of domestic violence. This is a problem we can solve, and it starts by removing the stigma or shame felt by those affected by violence at home. They have done nothing wrong, and we are here to stand up and protect them,” said Johns.
The report highlights four main areas where the state can improve:
- Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement: creating enhanced domestic violence crimes, especially those committed in the presence of children;
- Role of the Courts: enhancing orders of protection, bail reform, family court reforms, temporary spousal/child support, batterer intervention programs and other ways the courts can support victims;
- Victim Assistance: providing temporary housing options, domestic violence crisis centers, personal emergency panic buttons, passing Melinda’s Law, and creating safe havens so victims don’t have to choose between safety and their pets; and
- Prevention: mandatory reporting of domestic violence and elder abuse, statewide domestic violence training to better identify victims, developing domestic violence prevention and “what to do” curriculum in schools, and public awareness outreach campaigns.
“The most important thing is to stay safe and remember there are resources for help,” Johns said. “If you or someone you love is being abused please call the state’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906.”