Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Legislative Summaries by Year

2015 New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws Signed by the Governor:


Service Animals in Shelter – A.6626 Rosenthal / S.5372 Carlucci
Establishes the right of a domestic violence victim entering a residential domestic violence program to be accompanied by a service animal or therapy dog, as defined in NYS Agriculture and Markets Law. This bill was signed into law, based on an agreement between the Governor and Legislature, to amend the law to allow for reasonable accommodations addressing the health and safety needs of adults and children already residing in shelter, such as individuals who may have allergies or a fear of animals. (see “Legislative Summaries by Year 2016” for the amendment)

Signed: December 28, 2015 Chapter 584

Effective: December 28, 2015

Amends: Social Services Law §459-b

Temporary Orders of Protection – A.6262 Joyner/S.6 Young

Establishes a pilot program in several Family Courts to allow the electronic filing of petitions and issuing of temporary orders of protection by audio-visual means.   This will provide emergency relief for victims who find traveling to, or appearing in, the courthouse, an undue hardship or a risk to their safety.

Signed: October 21, 2015 Chapter 367

Effective: April 1, 2016

Amends: Family Court Act §153-c; Judiciary Law §212(2) new paragraph (t); Executive Law §648

Translation of DIR Statements and Victim Rights Notice – A.4347 Davila/S.4288 Hoylman

Requires police to have a victim’s statement on a domestic incident report translated when the statement is not in English. The victim rights notice, which must be given to all victims when a domestic incident report is completed, must be translated by the state and made available to law enforcement agencies.  Victim statements and the notice must be translated into those languages most frequently spoken in New York State.

Signed: November 20, 2015 Chapter 432

Effective: February 18, 2016

Amends: Executive Law §§214(b), 837(15), 840(3)(f); Criminal Procedure Law §140.10(5)

Campus Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence - A.8244 Glick/S.5965 Lavalle

Requires all colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines to combat sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking on college and university campuses statewide.  In addition to required prevention and response policies and procedures, the “Enough is Enough” law includes a uniform definition of affirmative consent for sexual activity, a statewide reporting amnesty policy, confidentiality provisions and expanded access to law enforcement, to help ensure the safety of all students attending colleges in New York State.

Signed: July 7, 2015   Chapter 76

Effective:  October 5, 2015; provisions requiring campus climate assessments and annual reporting of aggregate data to the State Department of Education take effect on July 7, 2016

Amends: Education Law by creating a new Article 129-B (§§6439 – 6449); Civil Practice Laws & Rules R3016; Executive Law by adding a new §232

Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act – A.506 Paulin/S.7 Lanza

Improves the State's response to human trafficking.  Increases the accountability of buyers and traffickers by adding new offenses to address patronizing a minor for prostitution and increasing penalties for sex trafficking.  Eliminates the term “prostitute” in the Penal Law and replaces it with “patronizing a person for prostitution.”  Requires the development of policies and materials for new and veteran police officers to use in assisting trafficking victims.  

Signed: October 21, 2015 Chapter 368

Effective: January 19, 2016

Amends: multiple sections of Penal Law §§60.13, 70.02(1)(a) & (c), 70.80(1)(a), 135.35, add 135.37, 460.10(1)(a), 700.05(8)(b) & (h), add 230.01, 230.02(1), 230.03(2), 230.04 - 230.10, add 230.11 – 230.13,  230.15(1) & (2), 230.19(1), 230.25(1), 230.30. 230.32, 230.33, 230.35, 230.40, 240.37(2), 380.50(6), 440.10(1)(i), 483-bb add (c), Criminal Procedure Law §§380.50, 440.10, 700.05; Social Services Law §§483-bb & 483-cc; Civil PLR §212; Mental Hygiene Law §10.03; Correction Law §§168-a & 168-d; Vehicle & Traffic Law §509-cc, add §510-d; Public Health Law §2324-a; Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law §715; Real Property Law §231; Executive Law §840, add §214-d; §14 of Chapter 74 of 2007

Housing Discrimination - A.6354-B Peoples-Stokes/S.5 Robach

Prohibits discrimination in housing based on domestic violence status.  Includes renting, terms or conditions of rental and eviction. 

Establishes a task force to study the impact of source of income and gender on access to housing.  The task force will also review the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Administrative Plan, including voucher portability and its impact on domestic violence victims, and make recommendations for improvement.

Signed:  October 21, 2015 Chapter 366

Effective:  January 9, 2016

Amends: Real Property Law to add §227-d and Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law to add §744

Orders of Protection in Sexual Assault/Probation Sentences- A.1797-A Paulin/ S.4340-B Serino

Establishes the maximum length of an order of protection in sexual assault cases where the sentence is, or includes, probation.  The maximum length of an order issued in criminal felony sexual assault convictions, including cases where the defendant and victim are family/household members, is fixed at ten years. In misdemeanor sexual assault convictions the maximum length of an order of protection will be fixed at six years. This corrects an inconsistency created when the law was changed in 2006 to extend the permissible duration of orders of protection in all crimes.  Prior to 2006, the law already required longer probation sentences for sexual assault convictions. Without the correction, orders of protection could have expired before a defendant had completed a probation sentence.

Signed: September 22, 2015   Chapter 240

Effective: October 22, 2015

Amends: Criminal Procedure Law §§530.12(5); 530.13(4)

Legal Name Change Protection - A.2242 Bronson/S.5240 Savino

Provides greater protection for domestic violence victims seeking a legal name change.  Previously, the law allowed a waiver of the requirement to publish a name change in a designated newspaper, if the court found that publishing would jeopardize the person’s safety.   This law expands the protection to clarify that the totality of the person’s circumstances must be taken into consideration when determining the threat to safety and that specific instances or a history of threats to personal safety are  not required.

Signed: September 22, 2015   Chapter 241

Effective: September 22, 2015  

Amends: Civil Rights Law §64-a

Crime Victim Awards/Financial Difficulty Requirement – A.6943 Peoples-Stokes/S.4913 Gallivan

Eliminates the requirement to prove financial difficulty in order to receive crime victim compensation, unless the award is for $10,000 or more.  The requirement had been in effect for awards of $5,000 or more.

Signed: September 25, 2015 Chapter 263

Effective: September 25, 2015

Amends: Executive Law §631(6)(a)

Crime Victim Awards/Grandchildren – A.8235 Peoples-Stokes/S.5956 Gallivan

Adds grandchildren to the list of relatives of a homicide victim who are eligible for crime victim compensation for counseling services.

Signed: August 13, 2015 Chapter 104

Effective: August 13, 2015

Amends: Executive Law §624(1)(b)

Resources for Victims of Sexual Assault and Child Pornography - A.86 Paulin/S.3486 Lanza

Allows the Department of Health to promote the availability of no-cost counseling programs, education programs and advocacy services for victims of sexual offenses and child pornography promotion/possession, provided at government and not-for-profit programs.

Signed: November 20, 2015 Chapter 363

Effective: January 19, 2016

Amends: Executive Law §292(5)

Defendant Name Change/Victim Request – A.5007-A Perry/S.1744-A Carlucci

Requires the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Office of Victim Services to develop and distribute a uniform form that prosecutors can give to crime victims who wish to be notified of any name change petition filed by the defendant in their case.

Signed: October 26, 2015 Chapter 394

Effective: November 25, 2015

Amends: Executive Law §631(6)(a)

Workplace Sexual Harassment Protections - A.5360 Galef/S.2 Valesky

Expands protections against sexual harassment by an employer to include all employers in New York State.  Previously, the law covered employers with four or more employees.

Signed: October 21, 2015 Chapter 418

Effective: November 20, 2015

Amends: Public Health Law §207(1) new paragraph

Fee Waivers for Certain Crimes – A.2469-A.Paulin/S.4394-A Lanza  

Waives the DNA databank fee, the mandatory surcharge and the crime victim assistance fee for convictions, where the arresting charge is prostitution or loitering for prostitution, or when the court finds the defendant is a victim of sex trafficking.

Signed: November 20, 2015 Chapter 246

Effective: November 20, 2015

Amends: Criminal Procedure Law §420.35(2)

Maintenance and Spousal Support - A.7645 Weinstein/S.5678 Bonacic

Establishes new formulas for the court to use to calculate the duration and amount of maintenance and spousal support.  The law also establishes what factors can used to appropriately deviate from the formulas.

Signed: September 25, 2015   Chapter 269

Effective: January 23, 2016 for October 25, 2015 for temporary maintenance awards in matrimonial actions

Amends: Domestic Relations Law §§236 & 248; Family Court Act §412

Mandatory Arrest Extension

Extends the mandatory arrest provision for family offenses for two more years, until September 1, 2017.

Signed: Chapter 55 – Budget Bill: §17 of Part B

Effective: April 13, 2015

Amends: Criminal Procedure Law §140.10(4)

Increased Maximum Length of Criminal Orders of Protection – Extension

Extends for two more years, until September 1, 2017, the increased maximum length of criminal court orders of protection. Maximum lengths: eight years for a felony conviction, five years for a misdemeanor conviction and two years for all other offenses/violations.

Signed: 2015 Chapter 55 – Budget Bill: §19 of Part B

Effective: April 13, 2015

Amends: Criminal Procedure Law §§530.12(5); 530.13(4)