October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the terrible impact domestic violence has on families across the nation and turn our focus toward recognition, healing and prevention.
The New York State Assembly Minority Conference has continually worked toward legislative solutions to help protect and empower victims, improve the safety of those suffering, and give law enforcement the tools needed to hold abusers accountable. Recently, our Conference also hosted a series of regional Task Force forums around New York State to address domestic violence in our communities.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CLAIMS TOO MANY VICTIMS
The statistics surrounding domestic violence are startling. Far too many face physical and emotional damage at the hands of an abuser and its impact is far-reaching. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States:
- A woman is fatally shot by a spouse, former spouse or dating partner every 14 hours;
- 1-in-3 women and 1-in-4 men have suffered physical abuse by a domestic partner;
- Roughly 20 people are abused by intimate partners every minute – which amounts to more than 10 million cases annually; and
- Domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
These numbers are tragic and unacceptable. I, personally, have fought hard to create a registry of violent offenders known as Brittany’s Law to help alleviate domestic violence. If enacted, it would help give residents information they need to make informed decisions regarding their personal associations.
BRITTANY’S LAW COULD HELP SAVE LIVES
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, 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.
The proposal, despite passing the Senate seven times with overwhelming bipartisan support and having Assembly Majority sponsorship, has languished in the Assembly chamber with no explanation for inaction. This common-sense proposal would give New Yorkers critical information about the history of those spending time with their children and families. It is a personal and professional priority of mine to see this bill made into law.
This October, I ask all lawmakers, policy advocates and residents to consider ways to eliminate domestic violence and offer their love and support to those dealing with its ramifications. Together, with awareness and action, we can overcome this terrible societal scourge.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.