New York State Bar Association Advocates for Domestic Violence Initiatives That Become Law
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new laws last week that will strengthen protections for victims of domestic and gender-based violence by seizing guns from perpetrators and protecting confidentiality.
The laws grant New York residents who have been subjected to domestic violence the right to have their voting records sealed, get out of shared telecommunications contracts, and shield their addresses from insurance companies.
The House of Delegates, the governing body of the association, in November of 2020 adopted a report from the Task Force on Mass Shootings and Assault Weapons with recommendations for legislative reform that were similar to the new laws.
The report addressed several instances pertaining to the connection between domestic violence and mass shootings, and how possession of firearms can escalate domestic violence.
The association, in cooperation with the Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence, also produced several free training webinars in 2020 and 2021 to educate lawyers on best practices for representing domestic violence victims so they may better advocate for their clients.
Domestic violence orders of protection rose 18% between 2020 and 2021, with 195,000 such orders issued in 2021.
In addition, the report recommended the federal definition of “intimate partner” be expanded to include anyone in a romantic relationship with an abuser, which is already the case for New York law.
This past June, President Joe Biden signed bipartisan gun legislation that provided funding for mental health services and school security. It also closed the “boyfriend loophole” to prevent dating partners convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms, rather than just spouses and former spouses.