Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Mothers Justice- Initiative Project.
Source: Governor of New York Posted on: 14th October 2009
Governor Paterson Observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month, joins Manhattan Borough President Stringer to Kick off “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” Campaign with Lighting Ceremony at the Empire State Building.
Governor David A. Paterson today observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New York by kicking off the “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” campaign. He was joined by Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Executive Director of the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) Amy Barasch, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein at a lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building. The tower lights will shine purple to symbolize the courage of domestic violence survivors and raise awareness about the prevalence and harm of domestic violence.
“We have made great strides in our work to end abuse. However, with more than 400,000 domestic incidents reported to New York State law enforcement last year – and research indicating that the actual number of incidents could be twice that – there is more progress to be made,” Governor Paterson said. “We know that abuse needs darkness to thrive. That is why we shine the light on domestic violence and stand united in the fight against it. We must continue to raise awareness, pass the legislation that better protects victims, hold offenders accountable and make education a central part of prevention.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer said: “This is an opportunity to send a message to the thousands of families in our city living under a cloud of domestic violence. For too long, this epidemic has hidden under shadows and behind closed doors. I applaud Governor Paterson and the Empire State Building for teaming up to meet the challenge of Domestic Violence Awareness Month with Empire State proportions. Tonight we turn the largest beacon in our city into a shining light for every home affected by violence.”
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Amy Barasch said: “The purple lights across New York City and the entire State serve to bring domestic violence out of the darkness, and show victims and survivors that we all acknowledge what they’ve experienced and are dedicated to working together to make sure the future will be brighter. For all New Yorkers, it’s a call to act. Each of us – citizens, businesses, co-workers, family and friends – can do something to help put an end to domestic violence.”
“Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” is an OPDV campaign and part of New York’s observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Landmarks across the State will turn purple to symbolize the courage of domestic violence survivors and raise awareness about the prevalence and harm of domestic violence. Among the participating landmarks are: Niagara Falls; Peace Bridge in Erie County; the Mid-Hudson Bridge in Dutchess County; the Hutchinson Metro Center; the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum; the Con Edison Clock Tower in Manhattan; 7 World Trade Center; the Virgin Records sign in Times Square; 601 Lexington Avenue; JC Penney at the Manhattan Mall; the Bronx Supreme Court; the Bronx County Building; and Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Today’s observance is part of Governor Paterson’s ongoing advocacy for domestic violence prevention. As Lieutenant Governor, he led the passage of legislation that prohibits law enforcement agencies from charging victims for serving orders of protection, strengthens penalties against human trafficking and allows victims of domestic violence to terminate their residential lease if remaining in their home would jeopardize the victims’ safety. Shortly after becoming Governor, he signed the Family Court Access Law to expand the definition of family/household member to include victims who are or have been in an intimate relationship, regardless of whether they have lived with the abuser or whether the relationship is of a sexual nature.
This year, the Governor introduced and signed a domestic violence program bill. The law requires education and training for court appointed attorneys for children and requires courts to state on the record how domestic violence factored into their custody and visitation determinations. The law protects victims of sexual assault by establishing sex crimes as “family offenses” and requires law enforcement officers who respond to a domestic incident involving an individual on probation or parole to send a copy of the incident report to the supervising agency as soon as possible.
OPDV supports two statewide victims’ hotlines – one in English and another in Spanish. When all local domestic violence hotlines across the State are factored in, there were more than 300,000 calls from individuals seeking help. Fifty percent of adult female homicide victims in New York in 2008 were killed by their intimate partners, while four percent of adult male homicide victims were killed by their intimate partners.
Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Denise E. O’Donnell said: “In New York, violence by an intimate partner is the leading cause of homicides for women 16 and older. Women are most at risk in their own homes, the very place they should be safe and secure. By bathing landmarks like the Empire State Building in purple light, we ask everyone to join in the fight to end domestic violence and the terrible toll it takes on New Yorkers.”
Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of to Combat Domestic Violence Yolanda Jimenez said: “The Bloomberg administration remains committed to eradicating domestic violence and while the purple lights remind us that domestic violence remains pervasive, there is encouraging news in New York City: we have seen a 24 percent decrease in family-related crimes and an eight percent drop in family-related homicides. There is more to be done and working together we can make violence against women, children and families a thing of the past.”
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said: “I am proud to be part of this event to educate and increase public awareness about the dangers of domestic violence. We must be ever vigilant in our efforts to continue this mission throughout the year and not just the month of October. Domestic violence destroys families, lives and communities and until this message is understood by everyone, our mission will never be complete.”
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, said: “With a 25 percent rise in intimate partner homicide in New York in 2008, and intimate partner violence being the leading cause of homicides for women, new laws alone are not enough. While the Assembly and I have worked for more than two decades to increase protections for victims of domestic violence, we must continue to work in our communities every day to help end the cycle of violence. This campaign to shine the light on domestic violence will increase public awareness and help our efforts to prevent domestic violence.”
Patti Jo Newell, acting CEO of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said: “The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence would like to thank the owners of the Empire State Building for their vision in the Lighting Partners Program and for shining the world famous tower lights on both the problem of domestic violence and the strength of public-private partnership to end it. We’d also like to thank the Governor and the Manhattan Borough President for their commitment to a strong public response to domestic violence. We’re pleased to collaborate with the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and domestic violence programs across the great State of New York to ‘turn the state purple,’ bringing awareness to communities and signaling hope and encouragement to survivors of domestic violence.”