We are pleased to introduce you to New York State’s Domestic Violence
Dashboard project. The only way to know whether we are making progress in achieving
our goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers can feel safe in their intimate relationships
is to keep an eye on key indicators over time. Many in the public and private
sectors are developing “dashboards” – a series of measurements
that give us a quick look at whether we are heading in the right direction.
New York State vigorously responds to domestic violence with over 550 police departments, 99 domestic violence hotlines, more than 200 hospital emergency rooms, and over 1,000 specialized courts. However, this large and decentralized system can make measurement challenging. For the first time New York State government agencies have compiled solid information from a range of systems regarding both the prevalence of domestic violence, and the strength of New York State’s response. This is our first attempt to develop such indicators, and we will continue to publish this report annually. By next year we plan to release a dashboard that begins to map trends and measure our progress.
The 2007 data serves as a snapshot of one year’s worth of information for New York State. The source agency for data referenced in each statement is indicated at the end of the sentence; published source material is listed separately at the end of the document. All statistics cited are for the 2007 calendar year unless otherwise indicated. The criteria for inclusion in this document were that the figures be comparable across systems; that the data refer to “intimate partner violence”(IPV), not the broader domestic violence, which can also include other familial violence; that the data be relevant; and that it be as precise as possible. These numbers show that New York State, like all other communities, is suffering a substantial amount of intimate partner violence, but also that New York is actively and vigorously responding to domestic violence.
Following is a brief explanation of some of the systems from which the data on domestic violence is captured.
Public Safety Data
Certain types of domestic violence behavior is criminal, and police, sheriffs, probation and parole officers, and prosecutors all invest substantial resources into responding to these cases. In 2008, DCJS published a report analyzing 2007 domestic violence homicides, broken down into three categories: intimate partners, homicides of children, and other family relationships. OPDV looked most closely at the data regarding Intimate Partner (IP) homicide, and has highlighted that information. In order to ensure ongoing and consistent response to IPV, all criminal justice agencies recognize the importance of ongoing training. This report indicates the minimum amount of training on domestic violence required of all police and probation officers, however, many departments far exceed the minimum.
The information on orders of protection is particularly complicated. Under Executive Law § 221 many orders of protection (OPs) are required to be listed in the statewide order of protection registry (support, paternity, custody and visitation, guardianship, and OP cases in family court, and domestic violence cases from criminal court). Most of those protect an individual against their intimate partner, but some may protect a child against a parent or other guardian. The Office of Court Administration calls orders that must be filed with the registry “required”. Other orders of protection issued against unrelated parties such as neighbors are “not required” to be filed with the registry. For the purpose of this document, we chose to list only required orders of protections and separate out temporary from final orders. Individuals may receive multiple temporary orders before the issuance of a final order. However, to make the data somewhat clearer, we only list the initial temporary order arising out of each incident. We also list all final orders issued in 2007.
Public Health and Welfare Data
In this section we cite to several national sources of information in order to put some context around NYS data. We also include NYC data when statewide data is not yet available. Highlights include the first time domestic violence hotline calls have been aggregated – more precision will be available next year. Information regarding the public assistance system refers to waivers, which are available due to NYS’s adoption of the federal Family Violence Option. All individuals in NYS seeking temporary cash assistance are asked if they are currently in danger due to domestic violence. Those who say “yes” can meet with a specially-trained domestic violence liaison (DVL), and may be able to opt out of some of the typical public assistance requirements if those requirements would be dangerous for them – that opt-out is called a “waiver”.
Most direct services to domestic violence victims, such as advocacy, counseling, legal representation, housing assistance, and case management, are provided by a strong network of non-profit providers across the state. The majority of nonprofits that service domestic violence victims are certified by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), either as residential providers (offering emergency shelter) and/or non-residential services (all other support services). OCFS regulations govern certain minimum requirements of these programs which, if met, entitle the programs to access State reimbursement. There is also a wide array of nonprofit and faith-based services that are not State-regulated; the work of those providers is not represented here.
Finally, data is, as always, only part of the story. New York State is a leader in the field of domestic violence, and has achieved much in the way of policy, legislation, training and program development in 2008. We hope that those changes will eventually be reflected in the data regarding prevalence and response-- in other words that improved laws will mean more offenders held accountable, and more victims staying safe – but that connection can only be made over time.
Product of the New York State Domestic Violence Advisory Council
Goals of the Advisory Council are:
- Make recommendations regarding strategies for the prevention of domestic violence.
- Assist in the development of appropriate policies and priorities for effective
intervention, public education and advocacy.
- Facilitate and assure communication and coordination efforts among state agencies and between different levels of government, state, federal, and municipal, for the prevention of domestic violence.