Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence
During the past decade, New York State has made tremendous progress in addressing domestic violence. Major legislative reforms have strengthened the response of the criminal justice system to the crime of domestic violence by imposing mandatory arrest provisions for law enforcement and increasing penalties, especially for violating orders of protection. These reforms have contributed greatly to the creation of a safer, more secure New York for women and children.
The virtual whirlwind of legislative and criminal justice reforms must not, however, distract us from the "bigger picture." We must continue to act on the knowledge that the solution to the problem of domestic violence lies within the community as a whole, with both formal and informal "systems" becoming active partners in efforts to establish a coordinated community response that promotes victim safety and reinforces abuser accountability. Everyone— employers, human services workers, mental health practitioners, health care professionals, substance abuse counselors, educators, child welfare workers, youth leaders, and members of civic, religious, cultural, and ethnic groups and organizations—has an important role to play in creating a climate of zero tolerance for domestic violence.
There is no shortage of notable examples of coordinated community response initiatives currently under way in communities across the State of New York. These efforts clearly illustrate the valuable roles that a wide variety of community agents play in combating domestic violence. They illustrate, as well, the results that can be achieved with creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence, even in the face of unyielding fiscal constraints.
The Model Policy for Counties
With the goal of consistency and coordination by and between county level agencies and departments, this model domestic violence policy is offered as a tool providing additional guidance to county communities in their efforts to strengthen responses to domestic violence. It represents the collective "best thinking" of New York State counties, a statewide Task Force, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) Advisory Council, and