Domestic violence impacts families across the state and the nation. Its effects are far-reaching, crippling and too often, lasting. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for us to make an extra effort to consider the devastating impacts of in-home violence and work toward protecting those who suffer at its hand.
The New York State Assembly Minority Conference recognizes the damage created by domestic violence and staunchly supports empowering law enforcement and victims to take the needed steps to mitigate its awful effects. Our Conference hosted a series of regional task force forums around New York State to address domestic violence in our communities. As such, we have advocated for a number of legislative solutions to help prevent instances of domestic violence. Our report, Helping Abuse Victims and Enhancing Protections, enumerates our strategy to prevent violence and support victims.
This year, national “Wear Purple Day” is Thursday, Oct. 18. With an emphasis on recognition, prevention and healing, it is a day not only to reflect on the pain domestic violence brings to victims, but also an opportunity to confront it and move toward a healthier solution.
THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
The statistics surrounding domestic violence are eye opening. Physical and emotional abuse is, sadly, widespread. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States:
On average, almost 20 people each minute are physically abused by a partner. That means more than 10 million men and women each year are abused.
Intimate partner violence represents 15 percent of all violent crimes.
Only 1 in 3 victims seek medical care for their injuries.
These numbers are devastating. The scope of domestic violence is astounding and, quite frankly, unacceptable. I have continually pushed for a registry of violent offenders to help alleviate instances of domestic violence by giving families the information they need to keep themselves safe. If enacted, Brittany’s Law would be a life-saving tool for New Yorkers.
BRITTANY’S LAW COULD PREVENT TRAGEDY
Brittany’s Law is named after Brittany Passalacqua, who was only 12 years old when she and her mother, Helen Buchel, were murdered in 2009. Their killer, John Edward Brown, Helen’s boyfriend at the time, was on parole following his incarceration for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Had Helen been able to access information about Brown’s violent past, this tragedy could have been avoided.
Brittany’s Law is a personal and professional priority of mine. It is my sincere hope the law is considered and passed once the Legislature reconvenes; Brittany and her family deserve no less. This October, I ask policy advocates, lawmakers and residents to consider ways to eliminate domestic violence. Through legislation like Brittany’s Law, emotional support and teamwork, we can overcome this terrible infliction.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.