FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Release #044-00
Tuesday, February 8, 2000
|Contact:||Sunny Mindel /Edward Skyler (212) 788-2958|
Enhanced Initiatives Will Reduce Domestic Violence Incidents,
Heighten Public Awareness,
and Expand Domestic Violence Hotline Services
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today unveiled three new domestic violence initiatives that will further deter domestic violence crimes, increase public awareness, and provide additional services to victims of domestic violence. The Mayor announced the expansion of the NYPD's successful "Combatting Domestic Violence Program" to 32 Police Precincts, a new citywide public education campaign focusing on domestic violence among young people, and the designation of over $800,000 for the expansion of the City's Domestic Violence Hotline.
Joining the Mayor were First Deputy Police Commissioner Patrick E. Kelleher;
Senior Advisor to the Mayor Anthony P. Coles; Criminal Justice Coordinator Steven
Fishner; Chair of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence Maria K.
PhD, and Executive Director Rhea N. Mallett; and Victim Services Executive Director Gordon Campbell.
"Preventing domestic violence requires comprehensive programs enforced with constant vigilance," Mayor Giuliani said. "When violence invades the home, physical and emotional trauma is inevitable. These three expanded initiatives build on our successful citywide strategy of prevention, increased public awareness, and providing needed services to victims and their children so that every home in New York City can be free from the devastating impact of domestic violence."
Model Domestic Violence Program Expands to 32 Police Precincts
In April 1999, the Police Department created a new "Combatting Domestic Violence Program" to increase its capability to respond to domestic violence. Building upon a pilot program in the 43rd and 44th precincts, the Department deployed precinct-based Model Domestic Violence Teams in 15 additional precincts to concentrate on domestic violence investigations, apprehensions and support services for victims.
In 1999, in the 17 Precincts covered by the enhanced Model Domestic Violence Teams, domestic violence-related homicides decreased 33%, while home visits by the police more than doubled, and domestic violence-related arrests by Domestic Violence Prevention Officers increased by 60%. Based on the dramatic success of this program, these teams will now be deployed in 15 additional Precincts across the City for a total of 32 Precincts.
With over 300 Domestic Violence Prevention Officers and Investigators already
in precincts citywide, this new program further improves the Precincts' ability
to police domestic violence crimes through enhanced education, prevention, and
A Domestic Violence Sergeant, and additional Domestic Violence Police Officers as necessary, are assigned to participating precincts. These additional resources allow the Precinct to increase dramatically the number of home visits to victims and offenders, to provide support and follow-up to victims and to deter offenders by demonstrating that their local precinct is closely monitoring their case.
First Deputy Police Commissioner Patrick E. Kelleher said, "Domestic violence-related homicides declined by 13.7% last year. We have been, and are committed to reducing even further the number of people who fall victim to this crime. Since implementing the pilot program, domestic violence fell 33% in the targeted precincts. Based upon that success, after thorough analysis of crime statistics, we are expanding this program to an additional 15 precincts. We believe that this action will save lives."
The Program provides a structure for improving precinct response to domestic violence cases, serves as a homicide prevention model, and increases the domestic violence responsibilities of other officers in the precinct. Presently, the Model Domestic Violence Teams operate in the following 17 Precincts: 13, 28, 33, 34, 43, 44, 46, 52, 67, 70, 75, 77, 105, 110, 113, 115, and 120. The additional 15 Precincts to be added include: 7, 9, 23, 32, 47, 48, 71, 72, 73, 83, 102, 103, 104, 114, and 122.
Citywide Public Education Campaign
The Mayor also announced plans for the City's fifth domestic violence public education campaign since 1994, which will focus on domestic violence among young people. Domestic violence occurs across all ages, and happens too frequently in the context of teen dating. Such intervention is necessary to stop the cycle of violence that can occur in different generations of the same family.
Since 1997, the City has focused on domestic violence among young people with its far-reaching Teen Relationship Abuse campaign. Posters, fact sheets, brochures, resource directories, and the pilot Adopt-A-School Initiative, which offers comprehensive services to promote healthy relationships in five Bronx high schools, have helped to increase public education and awareness of the importance of ending teen partner violence.
New York City is reinvigorating its efforts on this front, and will be launching a new public education campaign, to run on subways and buses, that will combine gripping imagery with the important message that domestic violence among young people is a crime and that help is available. The new posters will provide the 24-hour hotline number for domestic violence victims: 1-800-621-HOPE.
Rhea Mallett, Executive Director of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence, said, "These expanded programs build upon the foundation we have created during the last six years and will allow us to reach more past and potential victims. The initiatives are part of a coordinated city response to domestic violence that promotes a zero-tolerance approach, increases services to victims and focuses on preventing domestic violence in the next generation."
The world renowned advertising company, Young & Rubicam Inc., which has been designing the City's domestic violence campaigns since 1994, is once again partnering with the City to develop this new campaign.
Domestic Violence Hotline Expansion
Both the increased law enforcement response and the public education campaigns have raised awareness of the City's Domestic Violence Hotline to unprecedented levels. The Hotline -- which was created in 1994 and was the first citywide hotline of its kind in the nation -- provides assistance and referrals to domestic violence victims. The number of calls received by the Hotline has increased dramatically since its inception: the 95,549 calls received in 1999 represented a 92% increase since the hotline's first full year of operation. And even as the number of calls to the Hotline has increased significantly, the average waiting time for a call to be answered has decreased from 48 seconds in 1994 to 13 seconds in 1999. This year, the volume of calls is projected to exceed 100,000.
To address this increased demand for Hotline services, and to ensure continued success of the Hotline's operation, the City is providing an additional $860,000 to fund additional Hotline staff, relocate the Hotline to a new facility, and install a state-of-the art telephone system. The Domestic Violence Hotline is operated by Victim Services under a contract with the City.
"The City's Domestic Violence Hotline is the gateway to domestic violence services in New York City," said Gordon Campbell, Executive Director of Victim Services. "The Hotline receives nearly 300 calls a day from victims of domestic violence and their advocates seeking support, shelter and information to help victims escape abuse. We applaud the Mayor for supporting the Hotline and for being a strong and vocal advocate for victims of domestic violence."
Maria K. Mitchell, PhD, said, "Each year, this hotline becomes a greater resource for victims of domestic violence. These improvements will ensure that no one needing our help will ever hear a busy signal or feel that their calls for help went unanswered."
Relocation of the Hotline to a new facility will allow the system to handle the projected increase in calls, provide sufficient space for additional staff and supervisors, and include a building infrastructure capable of supporting the expanded Hotline. The enhanced funding will support a new state-of-the-art telephone system with the ability to provide detailed computerized reports on the number, length and substance of calls to the Hotline. The toll-free number for the Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-621-HOPE.
In April, Mayor Giuliani and the Commission to Combat Family Violence will launch the largest Citywide cellular telephone recycling drive in the country. This initiative will provide domestic violence victims and other New Yorkers with cellular telephones pre-programmed to 911.
Since 1994, the City's comprehensive strategy to prevent domestic violence has included:
Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence - Established by Executive Order, and comprised of officials from both the public and private sectors, the Commission coordinates a citywide response to domestic violence by collaborating with City agencies and private organizations.
NYPD - Created a comprehensive strategy for domestic violence-related
crimes, and placed specially trained, dedicated Domestic Violence Prevention
Officers and Domestic Violence Investigators in each of New York City's police
precincts. There are now over 300 Domestic Violence Prevention Officers and
Investigators throughout the City. In addition, the Police Department created
a computer database and tracking systems for all records of domestic incidents
and current orders of protection, and mandates on-going training within the
HRA - Expanded its non-residential domestic violence services by contracting with domestic violence organizations to provide counseling, safety planning, information and referrals, advocacy, community education and other services to domestic violence victims.
New York City Housing Authority - Under its Emergency Transfer Program, allows tenants who are domestic violence victims an opportunity to relocate confidentially and quickly to another housing development. NYCHA also conducts a Domestic Violence Aftercare Program for victims of domestic violence who are in the process of relocating to escape from violence. Through home visits, referrals to services, and direct services, the Aftercare Program helps domestic violence victims transition to new locations.
Health Care Response to Domestic Violence - Established a domestic violence protocol in every public hospital, which includes the placement of domestic violence coordinators in each facility, training for hospital staff, and the establishment of data collection and tracking.
Juris Monitor Program - Allows probation officers to monitor convicted domestic violence offenders by utilizing electronic ankle bracelets, alarms in the victims' homes, voice print registration, increased reporting requirements, and home visits. If the offender comes within 500 feet of the victim's home, an alarm sounds and 911 operators are notified to dispatch police officers. In addition, a recording device in the victim's home is activated and documents the offender's violation of the order of protection and conditions of probation.
Alternative to Shelter Program - Provides domestic violence victims
with the option of remaining safely in their homes through the provision of
a home alarm system, a cellular telephone pre-programmed to 911, caller identification,
an answering machine, and a complement of support services that includes full-time
case management, counseling and referrals.
Substance Abuse Pilot Program - Addresses the co-occurrence of substance abuse and domestic violence by enhancing existing substance abuse treatment services with domestic violence assessment, counseling, and treatment.
Literacy Program - To be offered in domestic violence and homeless shelters.
Designed to improve the literacy skills of both parents and children while engaging
them in a positive educational experience, this initiative provides services
to shelter residents and is part of the Administration's on-going commitment
to promote literacy throughout the City.
Adopt-A School Initiative - Introduced at 5 Bronx high schools in Fall 1999, the Adopt-A-School program provides comprehensive relationship abuse services including prevention, intervention, community outreach and parent education.
For more information on the City's domestic violence initiatives,
see the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence web page at: www.nyc.gov/domesticviolence.