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extensive public comment received from communities across the state. Integration of the policy recommendations into local community responses will help to ensure that best practices, policies, protocols, and procedures are used throughout the State of New York to address the issue of domestic violence.

The model policy includes Definitions, Problem Statement, Purpose and Policy Statement, and Guiding Principles. The Guiding Principles are the universal benchmarks by which programs, policies, protocols, and procedures across all systems (both formal and informal) can be measured to assess the extent to which they support the following goals:

¤Victim Safety and Self-determination;

¤Abuser Accountability;

¤Systems' Responsibility; and

¤Promoting a Coordinated Community Response Grounded in the Principles of Zero Tolerance.

The policy also includes seven additional sections that provide further recommendations specific to Employers and the following formal systems: Criminal Justice, Legal and Judicial; Health Care; Substance Abuse Treatment; Child Welfare; Mental Health; and Primary, Secondary, and Post-secondary Education.

This model policy is intended to assist in evaluating current policies and practices, identifying existing gaps, and setting goals for future action. It is not intended to provide detailed, specific "how to's" since both formal and informal helping systems vary dramatically across New York State. Where available, sample policies and protocols are referenced in the appendices and can be obtained through the OPDV Clearinghouse.

Further, the model policy is not intended to serve as an exhaustive set of recommendations, but rather as a solid foundation to further reinforce the work of counties. There are many potential formal and informal helping systems—community-based agencies, women's centers, departments of social services, child care centers, clergy and other religious leaders, domestic violence service providers, neighborhood groups, and homeless housing networks, to name a few—that are not specifically focused on in this policy, but for whom the policy should provide significant information and guidance regarding their responses to domestic violence.

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