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The Alliance has compiled a number of resources available for survivors, their friends and families, and professionals assisting survivors in New York City.

Policy Watch

Check back regularly to see the Alliance’s assessment of pending and proposed legislation. Feel free to read our quick summaries, or download the policy briefs for a more comprehensive analysis of some key acts.


yes The Alliance fully supports: A11484/S05808: "Reproductive Health Act"

yes The Alliance fully supports: A03661C: "Dignity for All Students Act"

no The Alliance opposes: A3609/S07873: "Informant Testimony"

yes The Alliance fully supports: A10237: “Throttling and Strangulation”

nopos The Alliance has no position: "The Domestic Violence Act of 2010"

yes The Alliance fully supports: A4560-B “Child Victims Act”

yes The Alliance fully supports: A02355 “HIV PEP Funding”

no The Alliance opposes: S06213 “DNA Upon Arrest”

yes The Alliance fully supports: A08644 “Apportionment”

Alliance Support Key

Support  Support                Oppose  Oppose                Still Deciding  Reviewing               Still Deciding  No Position

yes A11484/S05808: "Reproductive Health Act"

The Reproductive Health Act would amend the New York public health law to reinforce a woman’s right to contraception and would officially decriminalize abortion in the state.  Reiterating constitutional rights as recognized by Roe v. Wade, the Reproductive Health Act is a vital measure protecting women’s health and security.

The Alliance is particularly interested in Section 4 of the bill, which would repeal Education Law S6811(8).  While the exact provision of Education Law S6811(8) is prohibiting the sale or distribution of contraceptives to minors, the law is often used as the basis for denying a young person’s ability to consent to a medical or forensic examination after a sexual assault.  The Alliance strongly supports the Reproductive Health Act for addressing Education Law S6811(8) and its implications in inhibiting necessary treatment for all victims of sexual assault.

UPDATE: This bill was not brought to vote in the 2010 Legislative Session.

 

 



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yes A03661C: "Dignity for All Students Act"

The Dignity for All Students Act aims to ensure all students in New York a school environment free of harassment or discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, weight, or disability. 

The act would mandate a curriculum on tolerance and sensitivity for all students and would require schools to monitor and report incidences of harassment and discrimination.  Teachers and staff would also be mandated to receive the training they need to properly address issues of harassment and discrimination.
 

UPDATE: This bill was signed into NYS law on September 8, 2010


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no A3609/S07873: "Informant Testimony"

Bill A3609/S07873 is intended to address wrongful convictions and would enact a number of measures regarding informant participation and testimony, including: defining an “informant” as someone who provides testimony or evidence on an understanding that they will receive a favorable disposition in possible criminal charges, financial benefit, or other substantial benefit; requiring that the prosecution disclose to the defense information about the informant’s criminal history and the benefit the informant received for their testimony; and requiring that the jury be instructed to review the information about the informant to determine their credibility.

The Alliance opposes this bill.  Often crime victims receive benefits such as housing or restitution from the New York State Office of Victim Services, which could be interpreted as the “financial benefit or other substantial benefit” stated in the proposed bill’s definition of an informant.  If labeled as informants, crime victims would become open to scrutiny, which is likely to discourage many from coming forward about the offenses or from accepting aid.  Victims of sexual violence may be particularly hesitant to come forward, given the personal nature of the crimes.  While the bill is well-intentioned, the language is such that it poses a disadvantage and possible danger to victims of rape, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.
 

UPDATE: This bill was not brought to vote in the 2010 Legislative Session. Referred to Codes on January 26, 2011.  



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yes A10237: “Throttling and Strangulation”

Under current law, it is not a crime to intentionally block a victim’s circulation or breathing, and the courts have been forced to determine charges and penalties on a case-by-case basis. A10237 would create a new crime of throttling and strangulation and increase the penalties when a person “applies pressure to the throat or neck of another person or blocks a person’s nose or throat with the intent to impede normal breathing or blood circulation.” Supporters of this measure note that throttling and strangulation are among the most “potentially lethal forms of abuse,” and that perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) employ these acts to gain power and control their victims. As these acts can be incredibly dangerous yet difficult to ‘prove’ due to lack of visible bruising or marks, the current law does not provide enough protection for victims.

UPDATE: This bill was signed into NYS law on August 13, 2010.





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nopos "The Domestic Violence Act of 2010"


The Domestic Violence Act of 2010 would: 1) Create the crime of domestic abuse in New York, 2) Strengthen Orders of Protection with GPS technology, and 3) Hold ‘Deadbeat’ Parents Accountable.

The Richmond District Attorney’s Office crafted this legislation with the hope of closing some gaps in New York City law. Under the current penal law, police are not able to arrest a perpetrator for domestic violence unless acts occur in site of an officer. This bill would amend the law to create the new crimes of Domestic Abuse in the First, Second, and Third Degree in order to increase the seriousness of these offenses and to allow for arrests to be made more easily by police. By “elevating physical contact between those in a domestic relationship from a violation to a crime, the police will be mandated to make an arrest.”

Under the proposal for GPS monitoring, the penal and criminal procedure laws would be amended to authorize the courts to issue “full, stay away order of protection” with electronic monitoring device requirements. The DA’s office believes that GPS monitoring will help further protect victims of domestic violence and deter perpetrators from breaking the orders of protection as the device will provide proof of proximity, as well as additional penalties.

This bill would amend the penal law, and would now require “a delinquent parent to demonstrate as an affirmative defense that” they are unable to pay his/her child support payments. The amendment to the law would shift the burden of proof to the parent, rather than the prosecutor with the intent of reducing parents who are not fulfilling these responsibilities.



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yes A4560-B “Child Victims Act”

Assembly bill (A2596), otherwise known as the “Child Victims Act of New York” would provide greater justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse and help identify and stop sexual predators from continuing their abuse. A2596 would extend the statute of limitations for bringing charges in child sex abuse cases – in cases where the victim does not report it to law enforcement – from age 18 to age 23. It also calls for a similar extension in the civil statute of limitations. These changes to current law would allow for a child victim to seek prosecution and/or civil redress until at least the age of 28.


UPDATE: In the 2010 Legislative Session, this bill was passed in Assembly and defeated in Senate.

 




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yes A02355 “HIV PEP Funding”

Sexual assault has many physical and mental health considerations including the transmission of the HIV virus. According to New York City Department of Health guidelines, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be a component of the information and treatment options given to survivors for sexual assault. Survivors are given a “starter pack” of the HIV PEP medication in the Emergency Department; the costs for the initial treatment are covered under the Forensic Payment Act. Survivors that do not have the capacity to lay out the remaining cost of this month-long treatment can apply for an Emergency Award. In order to obtain this compensation, however, they must currently undertake a time consuming and onerous process with the NYS Crime Victims Board (CVB.) The Alliance believes that survivors should have a streamlined process to ensure their best health and thus fully support A02355.

UPDATE: This bill passed in Assembly.

 



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no S06213 “DNA Upon Arrest”

As it is commonly being called, the Klein DNA Upon Arrest bill would substantially alter the current laws regarding felony offenders and the requirements regarding the State DNA identification index. Current law states that only those convicted of a felony offense (and a specific list of related misdemeanors) must provide DNA for the index. With the passage of this law, the requirements for DNA provision would expand to include all those arrested and charged with felony offenses. While an expanded DNA database has the potential to positively impact the ability of the criminal justice system to track, charge and perhaps even deter perpetrators of sexual violence in New York, the Alliance can not support the current iteration of this bill. The current system lacks coordination and oversight; expanding the requirements to include felony arrestees will only further burden an already overtaxed system. There are also serious concerns about the ability of the current system to handle additional samples due to budget and capacity considerations.

UPDATE: This bill passed in Senate.



Download our rationale PDF icon (1.08M)

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yes A08644 “Apportionment”

In the case of a raped tenant, apportionment forces a jury to assign a percentage of blame to rapist and the landlord. In order to be found liable, the landlord must be apportioned (“assigned”) more than 50% of the blame for the injury. As a jury is likely to find the rapist to be “more than 50%, if not 100%, liable for the..injury,” the current system frees the landlord from any liability, even though s/he failed to maintain adequate security.
Download our rationale PDF icon (644.93K)

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