Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


Domestic Violence Annual Report 2009



Significant changes were enacted with the 2009 Omnibus Domestic Violence Bill and several other laws, designed to enhance protections and services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. In addition, the mandatory arrest provisions for family offenses were extended for two more years, until September 1, 2011. Below is a summary of some of the highlights of the 2009 legislative session:

Omnibus Domestic Violence Bill

This law makes numerous changes to various existing state laws, including:

  • Requires judges to state on the record how domestic violence and/or child abuse were factored into custody and visitation decisions.
  • Strengthens domestic violence training for attorneys for children (law guardians).
  • Requires law enforcement to forward domestic incident reports to probation and parole officers.
  • Provides for certain violation-level harassment convictions to remain unsealed and accessible to law enforcement, thereby, providing a more complete history of abusive behavior.
  • Protects victims of sexual assault committed by a family or household member by designating certain low-level sexual assault crimes as family offenses, requiring that mandatory arrest provisions apply and allowing victims to petition family court for orders of protection, which would be required to be filed with the statewide registry.

For more information visit the OPDV website.

Employment Discrimination

This law establishes victims of domestic violence as a protected class in the employment provisions of the NYS human rights law. The law prevents an employer from firing or refusing to hire an individual based on their status as a victim of domestic violence and prevents discrimination in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

For more information visit the OPDV website.

Prohibiting Requirement of Victim/Abuser Contact For Services

This law prohibits the state or any local government from requiring a victim to contact an abuser in order to meet eligibility for services or benefits. If a victim provides informed consent, or if information is needed to comply with federal law, regulation or mandate, the governmental entity must provide an intermediary to make contact on behalf of the victim, in a manner that will protect the privacy, confidentiality and current location of the victim.

For more information visit the OPDV website.

NYS Colleges Address Domestic Violence/Stalking

Under this law, NYS colleges are required to address domestic violence and stalking by providing incoming students with information on prevention, laws, penalties and the college’s response to any incidents or offenses, including assistance for victims. The bill also requires a review of campus policies and procedures for educating the school community, including personnel, on reporting of incidents during investigations, referring complaints to proper authorities and counseling victims.

For more information visit the OPDV website.

Divorce/Assets and Benefits Protection

This law requires orders to be issued by the court, at the beginning of any divorce proceeding, to prevent both parties from incurring unreasonable debts, dissipating assets (including personal property, real estate, retirement funds, etc.), or removing a party or the children from health or life insurance policies.

For more information visit the OPDV website.

Sexual Assault Services Information/Public Assistance

Under this law, local social services districts are required to inform anyone applying for/receiving public assistance of their option to receive an information packet on sexual assault. The packet will contain referral and contact information for local programs that provide services to victims of sexual assault, including counseling and hotline services, rape crisis centers and sexual assault examiner programs.

For more information visit the OPDV website.