Contact: Colleen Roche or Brenda Perez(212) 788-2958
MAYOR GIULIANI LAUNCHES PROGRAM TO AID
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today joined officials from AmeriCares and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) to announce their new program to help victims of domestic violence in New York City. The Skin Care Out Reach Empowers Survivors (SCORES) program will provide domestic violence victims with free plastic surgery area hospitals including Beth Israel Medical Center; the host of today's announcement; and New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center; New York University Hospital; SUNY at Brooklyn Hospital; Albert Einstein School of Medicine; and St. Vincent's Hospital.
The Mayor will be joined by SCORES National Coordinator Dr. Christopher Harmon, SCORES New York Coordinator Dr. Roy Geronemus, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Beth Israel Medical Center Dr. Steven Cohen, and AmeriCares representative Mary Harrison.
"New York City has led the way in advancing new and innovative solutions to domestic violence that empower women and help them to break the cycle of abuse," Mayor Giuliani said. "The City has established a comprehensive municipal response system to domestic violence that has been aided enormously by a private and public sector partnership and multi-disciplinary approach to this prevalent problem.
"The SCORES Program, developed by AmeriCares and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, will offer victims of domestic violence, both adults and children, something that can turn their lives around -- hope," the Mayor continued. "While we can never undo years of pain and suffering, thanks to advances in medical technology, doctors can remove the physical signs of domestic violence, restoring a sense of dignity and independence to the survivors of domestic abuse. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to thank AmeriCares and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery for their generosity and caring."
New York City social service agencies and advocates for victims of domestic violence will recommend candidates for the free surgery. The SCORES program will assess need on a case by case basis with the goal of helping all eligible candidates.
Bob Macauley, Chairman of AmeriCares, said, "We are very happy to add physicians from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery to our cadre of medical volunteers. We expect this relationship to be fruitful as we continue to develop relationships with the ASDS and its affiliate institutions in New York City and throughout the country."
"Domestic violence is a serious and widespread health crisis that tears apart families and communities and fills our hospitals, courtrooms and morgues," said New York Site Coordinator for the ASDS Roy Geronemus. "Our partnership with AmeriCares to provide dermatologic surgery to victims of domestic violence represents a sincere commitment to the physical recovery of the survivor. Hopefully, by restoring the physical identity of the victim, the emotional recovery can occur more naturally and quickly."
Dr. Steven Cohen, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Beth Israel Medical Center said, "Domestic violence is one of the most serious epidemics facing health professionals today. Each day, lives are ripped apart by this crisis. The good news is that we, as medical professionals, can make a significant difference in the lives of survivors of domestic abuse. And that is why we at Beth Israel Medical Center are proud to be a part of this new partnership. By helping victims of domestic abuse erase their physical scars, we may very well help them begin to erase their emotional ones as well."
AmeriCares is a private, nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian organization that provides immediate response to emergency medical needs -- and support to long tern health care programs. The American Society for Dermatological Surgery, founded in 1970, offers research grants, training and continuing education for its members in new dermatologic surgical techniques and procedures.
Over the last three and a half years, New York City has gained prominence as a national leader in the fight against domestic violence, and has markedly improved its municipal response system. Past Giuliani Administration Initiatives have included:
- A comprehensive Police Department strategy to break the cycle of domestic violence including dedicated domestic violence officers and investigators in each precinct, a computer tracking system and an intensive, ongoing training program to ensure adherence to the New York Police Department's (NYPD) pro-arrest policy for domestic violence related crimes.
- A domestic violence protocol for every municipal health care facility including dedicated domestic violence coordinators in each facility, training for all hospital staff, and the collection of data for a joint Health & Hospitals Corporation (HHC)/Department of health (DOH) Domestic Violence Surveillance Program.
- Trained counselors from Victim Services are available around the clock on the City's first 24-hour, multi-lingual, dedicated Domestic Violence Hotline to offer emergency counseling and referrals to all New Yorkers, including people with hearing impairments.
- The Citywide Domestic Violence Public Education Campaign has been widely displayed on posters throughout the City's transportation system, and public service announcements have been aired on radio.
- By 1997, shelter bed capacity under the Giuliani Administration will have increased by 40%, while innovative alternatives to domestic violence shelter, such as the Alternative to Shelter Pilot, have offered victims of violence new safety options.
- Project L.I.F.E. (Legal Initiative for Freedom and Empowerment) has increased victim access to free, trusted legal services through a partnership with 17 private law firms.
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