Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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For Immediate Release: 6/19/2018
Janine Kava | | (518) 457-8906 | (518) 275-5508 (cell)
Press Office, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence announces $400,000 in grants to reduce intimate partner violence in two counties

Grants will help expand existing risk reduction programs in Rensselaer and Orange counties

Another $40,000 grant awarded to continue civil legal services for domestic violence victims in Steuben Countys

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence today announced that Unity House of Troy in Rensselaer County and Safe Homes of Orange County will each receive a total of $200,000 over two years to expand existing partnerships with law enforcement to reduce intimate partner violence in the communities they serve. The state agency also awarded a one-year, $40,000 grant to Arbor Housing and Development in Steuben County so the agency’s domestic violence services can continue partnering with Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. to provide civil legal services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.

“Strategies that are effective in preventing intimate partner violence rely on collaboration between law enforcement and service providers: Offenders are held accountable for their behavior while victims are connected with services to help them find safety and interrupt the power dynamics that contribute to abuse that can be deadly,” Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Gwen Wright said. “This funding will allow these organizations to build upon existing partnerships and expand services in their communities.”

Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's leadership, New York has expanded its commitment to protecting victims and survivors of domestic violence. Most recently, Governor Cuomo announced the passage of legislation to remove guns from domestic abusers, closing a loophole in state law by ensuring that all firearms, not just handguns, are surrendered by individuals convicted of domestic violence-related offenses. This legislation is a centerpiece of the Governor's 2018 Women's Agenda.

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence awarded the grants through its Risk Reduction Enhanced Response Program. Now in its fourth year, the program provides grants to state-licensed domestic violence service providers so they can use a team approach and risk assessment tools to identify and respond to domestic violence cases that are at the highest risk for severe physical violence. The program aims to reduce the risk of intimate partner homicides, increase safety for all domestic violence victims, hold offenders accountable and reduce recidivism. In addition, the program seeks to increase awareness of gaps in services and to provide training to improve the coordinated community response to domestic violence.

Safe Homes will use the funding to expand its program from the city of Newburgh, where the organization is based, into the neighboring town of Newburgh. The organization initially received a grant through the program in 2016, which allowed it to work with city police, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County Probation, and other community-based organizations. That work will continue and the organization will forge new partnerships with the Newburgh Town Police and the county Department of Social Services’ Children’s Services unit.

Safe Homes Executive Director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier said, “Safe Homes of Orange County is excited and grateful for this opportunity to enhance our pilot Risk Reduction Response Program. Over the last 24 months we have identified opportunities to grow the pilot program, and attempt to address additional systemic gaps identified along the way. The beginning stages of our pilot project have allowed us to strengthen communication, develop policies and procedures, and begin identifying potential high risk cases of domestic violence. This next phase will begin innovative project enhancements focusing on safety for victims and children and holding offenders accountable.”

Unity House of Troy also was first funded in 2016 and will use its grant to expand its work throughout Rensselaer County. The funding will enable new partnerships with the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, St. Peter’s Health Partners, and Rensselaer County Mental Health in Hoosick Falls. The initial grant enabled Unity House to partner with Troy Police, Rensselaer County Probation, and the county District Attorney’s Office to create a multi-disciplinary team to identify and address cases where the victim is at high risk of being killed. The team conducts victim assessments and identifies high-risk cases in need of intervention. 

Unity House Chief Executive Officer Christopher Burke said, “This funding will help Unity House continue the important work started when the Risk Reduction program was established nearly two years ago. More importantly, the grant will help us to expand the program throughout Rensselaer County, and to connect with an even wider array of agencies that assist domestic violence victims. We look forward to building the risk reduction program and saving more lives.”

In addition, the $40,000 grant from the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will allow The Net Domestic Violence Services, a program of Arbor Housing and Development, to continue its work with Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. Together, the agencies connect high-risk individuals with legal services to assist them with orders of protection, child custody issues and other civil matters. The two organizations began this work last fall and the program has already provided legal assistance in more than three dozen cases.

Carrie House, Director of Domestic Violence Services for Arbor Housing and Development, said, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Legal Assistance of Western New York and to continue serving hundreds of domestic violence survivors throughout Steuben County. Civil legal services can play an important role in helping victims break from abusive relationships and start on the path to becoming survivors. We applaud New York State’s commitment to funding this program and look forward to continuing this important work.”

Last year, there were 58 intimate partner violence homicides in New York State, the lowest reported since 2007, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. Those homicides represented 11 percent of 545 homicides statewide and female victims were disproportionately represented, accounting for about 77 percent of intimate partner homicide victims in 2017.

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence ( 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.
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