Relates to the report of programs available to survivors of domestic violence.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to reporting of programs available to survivors of domestic violence
PURPOSE: To create a report detailing various programs aimed at assisting survivors of domestic violence as well as supporting information.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 states the legislative intent and further states that by November 1, 2013 a report and recommendations shall be provided including the types of treatment programs and resources currently available, an evaluation of existing domestic violence forensic examiner programs, a list of criminal offenses for which creation of a statewide domestic violence forensic examiner program would be of assistance, recommendations to enhance collection of evidence, and an evaluation of fiscal costs.
Section 2 is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Forensic examiner programs provide significant amounts of assistance to both survivors of domestic violence, but also law enforcement looking to build a case. For example The Family Justice Center. of Erie County is home to a Forensic Medical Unit (FMU) in all of NY State dedicated to domestic violence, thanks to the partnership with University of Buffalo Family Medicine. These full-time Registered Nurses document end photograph (via electronic body mapping) client injuries using high-tech digital camera equipment. This documentation is immeasurable in its ability to detect injuries that traditional hospital photographs cannot detect; the high tech equipment can also detect pooling of blood under the skin from incidents like strangulation; as one example. These visual records, which can take four or more hours to produce, are then used by the District Attorney in prosecutions, if the client wishes to press charges. Additionally, the FMU nurse testifies at. trial, as required.
The Forensic Medical Unit is one of the agency's most sought after services and the Erie County District Attorney calls the records generated by the FMU "invaluable" leading to increased plea bargains and higher conviction rates. The increased plea bargains, thanks to the FMU, save taxpayers the skyrocketing expense of trial. The DA's office has put. area hospitals on notice to send all domestic violence victims to the Family Justice Center for injury documentation, informing -hospitals that traditional photos are not suitable evidence for. court. Not only does it save taxpayers money but it saves victims the trauma of testifying at a trial along with avoiding the trauma of being examined at a hospital; where the evidence is NOT permissible in court. The forensic medical unit documentation IS permissible in court. with conviction rates almost 100% of the time.
This legislation will allow for sustainability of FMU in the Family Justice Center as a "one stop center" and will allow for evaluation and expansion, over time, of forensic medical units in other Family Justice Centers throughout New York State.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S. 6889 Introduced to Senate Finance Committee
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1593--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to reporting of programs available to survivors of domestic violence THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 575 of the executive law is amended by adding a new subdivision 11 to read as follows: 11. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. (A) THE LEGISLATURE HEREBY FINDS THAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A PERVASIVE PROBLEM IN NEW YORK STATE, WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF INCIDENTS BEING REPORTED EACH YEAR. THE LEGISLATURE FURTHER FINDS THAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAMS HAVE THE POTEN- TIAL TO IMPROVE THE STATE'S ABILITY TO PROSECUTE SUCH CRIMES, AND ENHANCE THE PROVISION OF TREATMENT AND SERVICES TO VICTIMS. THEREFORE, THE LEGISLATURE FINDS IT PRUDENT AND NECESSARY TO REQUIRE A COMPREHEN- SIVE EVALUATION OF EXISTING SERVICES AND SUCH FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAMS TO DETERMINE HOW TO BEST REDUCE AND ADDRESS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WITHIN THE STATE. (B) ON OR BEFORE NOVEMBER THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN, THE EXECU- TIVE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE FOR THE PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHALL, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH AND THE COMMIS- SIONER OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES, PROVIDE A REPORT AND RECOMMENDA- TIONS TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY RESIDENT OF THE SENATE, AND THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY REGARDING THE POTENTIAL ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATEWIDE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM. (C) SUCH REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04776-02-3 S. 1593--A 2
(1) THE TYPES OF TREATMENT PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE TO SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; (2) AN EVALUATION OF ANY EXISTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAMS, INCLUDING THEIR IMPACT ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROSECUTIONS; (3) A LIST OF CRIMINAL OFFENSES FOR WHICH PROSECUTIONS COULD BE AIDED BY A STATEWIDE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM; (4) RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING POTENTIAL PRACTICES AND PROTOCOLS THAT COULD ENHANCE THE COLLECTION OF EVIDENCE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES, AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF TREATMENT AND SERVICES PROVIDED TO VICTIMS; AND (5) AN EVALUATION OF FISCAL COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATEWIDE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FORENSIC EXAMINER PROGRAM, INCLUDING THE POTENTIAL ROLE OF PRIVATE INSURANCE PROVIDERS AND RECOMMENDED MEASURES TO AVOID SUBJECTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL UNITS TO ANY UNFUNDED MANDATE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.