The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has named Gwen Wright, executive director of the New Yok State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence(OPDV), as the recipient of its “Voices Rising” Lifetime Impact Award, which recognizes her career-long contributions to prevention efforts.
“I am humbled and grateful for this honor, especially from an organization that has done so much to help change the way we approach domestic violence and sexual abuse,” said Ms. Wright said. “But there is much more work to be done in New York State and the nation as a whole to prevent these crimes from occurring and to hold offenders accountable. My hope is that our work can continue the forward progress that has propelled domestic violence awareness to the forefront of our public discourse.”
Ms. Wright accepted the award earlier this week in Providence, R.I., where the Coalition hosted its 2018 “Voices Rising” Conference. She was one of four individuals recognized by the organization, which advocates for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and for communities to take zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence; lobbies for public policy change; coordinates outreach to increase public awareness of the impact of domestic violence; and offers programs designed to foment change. The Coalition presents the Lifetime Impact Award annually to professionals in the domestic violence field whose contributions made over the span of their career have significantly influenced their community’s response to ending domestic violence.
Ms. Wright has steadily risen at OPDV during the course of her 25-year career with the agency. She previously served as a program administrator and the director of Human Services and Prevention. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo named her acting director in 2012 and then executive director in 2013. In her role, she leads the state’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council and is a member of the state Office of Victim Services’ Advisory Council. She also served on the SUNY Violence Prevention Workgroup in response to Governor Cuomo’s call for uniform policies and practices to address sexual violence on college campuses throughout the state.
Prior to joining the agency, Wright served as the executive director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where she coordinated outreach efforts statewide and participated in policy discussions with legislative leaders. She is the past president of the Pride Center of the Capitol Region, In Our Own Voices, and A Call to Men. She also has served as a member of the Hoyt Children and Family Trust Fund and is currently a board member of the Rockefeller College Center for Women in Civil Society fellowship program.
Domestic violence occurs in communities both large and small and affects New Yorkers from all walks of life. Next month, New York will join the nation to mark October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has updated its online toolkit, which provides free resources, including graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and offers ideas on how employers, communities and individuals can raise awareness about domestic violence. New Yorkers using social media to promote awareness, activities and events in their communities, schools, colleges or workplaces are encouraged to use #NYGoesPurple4DV and tag @NYSOPDV.
In 2017, there were more than 23,000 victims of intimate partner violence reported in New York City, and approximately 30,000 reported in counties outside of the metropolitan area. Courts in New York State entered more than 183,000 temporary orders of protection into the Domestic Violence Registry last year; about 49,000 of these became final orders of protection. Domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines in New York State received more than 369,000 calls last year alone.
The New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (1-800-942-6906) offers help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711. New York State also supports and funds community-based programs to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence and other crimes, including these Domestic Violence Resources.
The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (www.opdv.ny.gov) has three primary areas of focus: to advise the Governor and Legislature on policies and practices for the state; to train professionals from all disciplines across the state about the intersection of domestic violence in their daily practice; and to serve as a resource regarding the issue of domestic violence by disseminating regular public awareness campaigns, publishing materials for use by non-profits and victims and highlighting best practices.