Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


Legislative Summaries by Year

2014 New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws

The following bills have been signed into law by the Governor:

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)

Aggravated Harassment Second Degree - A.10128 Weinstein/S.7869 Nozzolio

Addresses the issues raised in the NYS Court of Appeals decision that struck down the section of aggravated harassment that was often charged in domestic violence cases. In People v. Golb, the court decided that the language was too vague, overly broad and violated First Amendment free speech rights, by allowing for the criminalization of communication that has the intent to annoy. The original aggravated harassment law criminalized telephone or mail communications intended to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm another person.

The new law criminalizes communications that threaten to cause physical harm to, or unlawful harm to the property of, the victim or a family/household member, which the perpetrator knows or reasonably should know will cause a victim to fear such harm. The law adds computer or any other electronic means of communication and amends other provisions of aggravated harassment second degree.

Signed: July 23, 2014 Chapter 188

Effective: July 23, 2014

Amends: Penal Law §240.30

Executive Law §631(12)

Stalking Fourth Degree/GPS - A.7720-B People-Stokes/S.4187-C Kennedy

Adds the unauthorized tracking of a person’s movements or location by GPS or other device to the meaning of “following,” where a stalker knows or reasonably should know that following, telephoning, initiating communication or contact with the victim, a family member or acquaintance will cause material harm to the mental or emotional health of the victim.

Signed: July 23, 2014

Effective: October 21, 2014

Amends: Penal Law §120.45

Unlawful Surveillance/Sexual Conduct - A.2053-C Paulin/S.1982-C Carlucci

Makes it illegal to install or use, or permit installing or using, a device to view, broadcast or record a person engaged in sexual conduct in a way that they can be identified, whether or not their intimate or sexual parts are shown.  The new law applies when this is done without the victim’s knowledge or consent and occurs at a time and place where the victim would have reasonable expectation of privacy.  The law also makes it illegal to disseminate, sell or publish these images.

Signed:  August 1, 2014 Chapter 193

Effective:  November 1, 2014

Amends:  Penal Law §250.45 - adds new sub (5); 250.55; 250.60(1)

Sexual Exploitation – Sixteen/Seventeen-year-olds - A.8749-A Paulin/S.6804 Lanza

Provides alternatives for criminal courts to handle cases where a person aged sixteen or seventeen has been charged with prostitution or loitering for the purposes of prostitution. The charge may be conditionally converted to a PINS proceeding, the person may be referred to services and the charge subsequently dismissed if the youth participates in the services or the charge may proceed as a criminal case which may lead to conviction by plea or verdict. If convicted, the court must grant the person youthful offender status. The law also provides for the sealing of records. Any sixteen or seventeen year old charged with prostitution or loitering for purposes of prostitution must be deemed a sexually exploited child, entitled to services available under the Safe Harbour Law - SSL §447-A(1). 

Signed: October 16, 2014  Chapter 402

Effective: October 16, 2014 

Amends:  Criminal Procedure Law §§170.30, 170.80, 720.15, 720.35, adds §720.25; Penal Law §60.02

Campus Crime Reporting – A.2089-B Braunstein/S.2753-B Marchione

Require colleges and universities to notify appropriate law enforcement within 24 hours of a report of a violent felony or a report that a student who resides in housing owned or operated by the school is missing.  The bill was signed into law with an agreement that the legislature will pass an amendment next session to clarify that sexual assault victims will retain their right, under federal law, to decide whether or not to report the crime to law enforcement.

Signed: December 17, 2014 Chapter 486  (Approval Memo No. 14)

Effective:  December 17, 2014

Amends:  Education Law §§355(17); 6206(15)(a); 6306(8-a)(a); 6434(1)

Extension of Referee/JHO Authority and Homeowner Foreclosure Protections - A.9354 Weinstein/S.7119 Klein

Extends until 2016 the authority granted referees and Judicial Hearing Officers to hear ex-parte applications for orders of protection or orders where the respondent has defaulted. Also extends for five years the requirement of lenders to provide homeowners notice of foreclosure and provide settlement conferences to resolve financial issues to facilitate owners retaining their homes.

Signed: June 16, 2014 Chapter 29

Effective: June 16, 2014

Amends: multiple sections of unconsolidated law

Civil Rights Protections for Interns - A.8201-A O’Donnell/S.5951-A Krueger

Adds a new section to the NYS Human Rights Law titled, "Unlawful discriminatory practices relating to interns." Provides for the same protections afforded other specified classes and creates a new section prohibiting sexual harassment of interns by employers, codifying both the quid pro quo and hostile environment tests.

Signed: July 22, 2014 Chapter 97

Effective: July 22, 2014

Amends: Executive Law to add a new §296-c

Persistent Sexual Abuse  - A.2711 Simotas/S.612 Gianaris

A defendant is guilty of the crime of "persistent sexual abuse" when convicted of certain sex crimes after having been convicted of similar sex crimes two or more times in the previous ten years.  The new law excludes any prison time from the ten-year period, since the offender would not have been able to commit sex crimes in the community while incarcerated. 

Signed:  August 1, 2014 Chapter 192

Effective:  November 1, 2014

Amends:  Penal Law §130.53

Women’s Health Website  - A.4465 Galef/S.3817 Hannon

Requires the NYS Department of Health to establish and maintain an Internet website to advance women's health by educating the public and raising awareness of women's health issues.  The website will also include links to useful resources and services, and information describing the 22 preventative services now covered under the Affordable Care Act, including domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.

Signed: September 4, 2014 Chapter 342

Effective:  September 4, 2014

Amends:  Article 2 of the Public Health Law to add a new title VI “Women’s Health”

Vulnerable Elderly Grand Jury Testimony - A.8780 Schimminger/S.7188 Nozzolio

Allows a social worker/informal caregiver to be present and support a vulnerable elderly person during grand jury proceedings.

Signed:  September 4, 2014 Chapter 347

Effective:  September 4, 2014

Amends:  Criminal Procedure Law §190.25(3)(h)

Fee Waiver for Sex Trafficking Victims - A.8812 Paulin/S.6803 Lanza  

Requires the court to waive the mandatory surcharge and the crime victim assistance fee when a defendant is found to be a victim of sex trafficking.  These are fees that all defendants must pay when they are convicted or plead guilty to an offense.  For various reasons, including personal safety, a trafficked individual may choose to plead guilty.

Signed: September 23, 2014 Chapter 385

Effective: September 23, 2014 - will apply to convictions on or after this date, as well as any cases where charges are pending as of this date, but sentence has not yet been imposed

Amends:  Criminal Procedure Law §420.35(2)