Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


Summary of New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws by Subject (beginning from 1995)

Subject Categories

Family Court
Judicial Hearing Officer/Referee Authority - A.10365 Carroll /S.8324 Bonacic

Extends until September 1, 2020 the current authority of Family Court referees to hear ex-parte order of protection petitions or petitions where all parties except the applying party failed to appear. Petitions may be heard any time the court is in session, during established business hours or after 5:00 PM. Training on domestic violence is required for all persons who are designated to serve as referees. [Authority during regular business hours and required domestic violence training were added in 2010 (Chapter 363)]. Original provision established in 2001 by Chapter 340.

Signed:  July 31, 2018  Chapter 161
Effective: July 31, 2018 
Amends: unconsolidated law affecting Judiciary Law §212(2)(n)

Judicial Hearing Officers – Western New York - A.10365 Carroll /S.8324 Bonacic

Makes permanent the use of judicial hearing officers to issue ex-parte orders of protection, and orders of protection where the respondent has defaulted, in the Family Courts of the seventh and eighth judicial districts. These districts include the counties of Western New York. Domestic violence training is required for all judicial hearing officers in the program. Originally established as a pilot program in 2002 by Chapter 219.

Signed:  July 31, 2018  Chapter 161
Effective: July 31, 2018 
Amends: unconsolidated law affecting Judiciary Law §212(2)(o)

Female Genital Mutilation - A.47-a Paulin/S.3484-A Lanza

Establishes the new crime of “facilitating female genital mutilation,” intentionally aiding in the commission or attempted commission of the crime of female genital mutilation of a minor under 18 years of age.

Signed: June 8, 20/16 Chapter 49

Effective: September 6, 2016

Amends: Penal Law creating a new §260.22

Family Court Judges - A.10139 Weinstein/S.7883 Bonacic

Increases the number of Family Court judges in various counties in the state. Nine new Family Court judges will be added in NYC by January 1, 2015.  A new judge will be added to the following counties by January 1, 2015, after November 2014 elections:  Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Franklin, Nassau, Oneida, Oswego, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.   A new judge will be added to five additional counties by January 1, 2016, after November 2015 elections: Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe and Warren.

Signed: June 26, 2014  Chapter 44

Effective: June 26, 2014

Amends: Family Court Act §§121, 131(u) and (v)

Technical Amendment to Family Court Act §821  (A.7632 Rosenthal/S.4302-A Savino)

Adds criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and strangulation to the list of actionable allegations in family offense petitions. This law is simply a technical clarification to the originating procedures section of Article 8 the Family Court Act.

Signed: 2011 Chapter 309

Effective: August 3, 2011

Amends:  Family Court Act §821

2009 Omnibus Domestic Violence Bill  (A.9017 Weinstein/S.5031-A Hassell Thompson)

Makes numerous changes to various state laws, including:

  • requires judges to state on the record how domestic violence and/or child abuse were factored into custody and visitation decisions
  • strengthens domestic violence training requirements for attorneys for children (law guardians)
  • protects victims of sexual assault committed by a family or household member by designating certain low-level sexual assault crimes as family offenses, requiring that mandatory arrest provisions apply and allowing victims to petition Family Court for orders of protection, which would be required to be filed with the statewide registry
  • requires law enforcement to forward domestic incident reports to probation and parole officers
  • provides for certain violation-level harassment convictions to remain unsealed and accessible to law enforcement, thereby, providing a more complete history of abuse – multiple sections/effective dates
  • provides greater protections to victims by adding the length of incarceration to the maximum expiration date previously allowed for orders of protections issued in misdemeanor and violation cases

Signed:  2009 Chapter 476

Effective: December 19, 2009, except for multiple unsealed convictions provisions, which have varying effective dates

Amends:  Family Court Act §§249-b; 812; 821

Domestic Relations Law §240

Criminal Procedure Law §§530.11; 140.10; 160.55; 170.10; 530.12; 530.13

Expanded Family Court Access  (A.11707 Weinstein/S.8665 Winner)

Amends the Criminal Procedure Law and the Family Court Act to allow more victims to seek an order of protection in Family Court. The new law expands the definition of family/household member to include victims who are or have been in an intimate relationship, regardless of whether they have lived with the abuser or whether the relationship is of a sexual nature. This will include LGBT and dating relationships (including teens). Mandatory arrest provisions will apply to these relationships when a crime has been committed. Previously, only individuals who are or have been married, share a child in common or are related by blood or marriage were eligible for an order of protection in Family Court.

Signed: 2008 Chapter 326

Effective: July 21, 2008

Amends:  Family Court Act §812(1)(e)

Electronic Transmission of Orders of Protection  (A.7554-C Rosenthal/S. 4704-C Volker)

Allows the Family Courts in nine counties to participate in a three-year experimental program to file orders of protection electronically, or by facsimile transmission, with the appropriate police department or sheriff’s office -- eliminating the need for victims to personally transport orders to law enforcement. The designated counties include: Albany, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Onondaga, Richmond, and Westchester

Signed: 2007 Chapter 330

Effective: July 18, 2007

Amends:  Family Court Act §§168; 153-b(c)

Criminal Procedure Law §2301(f)

Supreme Court Assigned Counsel  (S.8096 Skelos/A.10447 Weinstein)

Requires Supreme Courts to assign counsel to indigent adults in divorce cases, if the case involves matters that could have been under the jurisdiction of Family Court. Counsel will only be assigned for those issues (custody, family offense or violation of a support order or order of protection), not the divorce action.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 538

Effective: August 16, 2006

Amends:  Judiciary Law §35(8)

Family Offense/Court Jurisdiction  (A.8466 Weinstein/S.5677 Saland)

Provides that a victim's choice to proceed in Family Court does not divest the criminal court of jurisdiction over the family offense.

Signed: 1999 Chapter 125

Effective: June 29, 1999

Amends:  Criminal Procedure Law §§530.11(1); 530.11(2)(h)

Family Court Act §§812(1); 812(2)(f)

Family Court/Local Criminal Court Authority  (A.7029 Weinstein/S.3495 Saland)

Clarifies ambiguities in the Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1994 regarding the authority of, and procedures for, local criminal courts to act on behalf of the Family Court or Supreme Court in family offense cases when these courts are closed. The bill sets forth specific procedures to be followed in hearing these cases and transferring them over to Family or Supreme Court.

Signed: 1997 Chapter 186

Effective: July 8, 1997

Amends:  Family Court Act §§154-b; 154-c; 154-d; 155; 155-a; 821(4)

Criminal Procedure Law §§530.11(g) is repealed; 530.11(4); 530.11(2)(j) is repealed; 530.12(3); 530.12(3-a) and (3-b); 530.12(15)  

Domestic Relations Law §§240(3-b); 252(2-a)

Family Court/Address Confidentiality  (S.2113-B Saland/A.7843-A Weinstein)

Authorizes family court to allow the petitioner or respondent in any order of protection proceeding to keep his or her address confidential, where the court finds that disclosure of the address would substantially increase the risk of violence. The court will then designate the court clerk or another disinterested person to be the agent for service of process; the designated person shall promptly notify and forward process to the protected party.

Signed: 1995 Chapter 388

Effective:October 31, 1995

Amends:  Family Court Act §154-b