Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958, Brenda Perez 212) 788-3256,
Rhea Mallett (212) 788-2799 Commission to Combat Family Violence
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today kicked off a Citywide public education campaign against teenage domestic violence at a press conference at City Hall. This important initiative will focus on preventing domestic abuse among teenagers through public awareness and education campaigns. The initiative will also provide support and professional assistance to teenagers who are already victims of domestic abuse.
Joining the Mayor at the press conference were Ninfa Segarra, Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services; Maria Mitchell, Co-Chairman of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence; Katie Lapp, Criminal Justice Coordinator and Co-Chairman of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence; and Howard Safir, Police Commissioner.
"Domestic violence among teenagers is one of the fastest growing types of domestic abuse in the nation," said Mayor Giuliani. "It is estimated that as many as one-third of all high school and college age individuals may now experience some form of violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Among pregnant and parenting teens, the statistics are as high as 70 percent.
"Too often teens fail to recognize that they are the victims of emotional and verbal abuse --which in many cases are the precursors to physical violence. And even when they understand what is happening, teenagers are reluctant to come forward to ask for the necessary help and support from trained professionals. Like so many victims of domestic violence, they feel ashamed and suffer alone, in silence," added the Mayor.
"We are here today to break that silence, and to tell our teenagers that domestic abuse is a crime; that they should not feel ashamed; that they don't have to tolerate emotional or physical abuse from their dating or marital partners; and that help is available. I am confident that by combating relationship-violence at a young age this campaign, which will reach thousands of teenagers, will help break this dangerous pattern of behavior that often extends into adulthood," concluded the Mayor.
Maria Mitchell, Co-Chairman of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence, said, "While our message is targeted at teens, which is crucial in breaking the cycle of violence, our message reaches the general public so that all of us can recognize violent and abusive relationships and support those who are the real victims of violence."
The campaign's message, "Relationship Abuse. Don't Settle For That," will be displayed on posters and brochures-- both in English and Spanish -- on buses, subways, bus shelters, shopping malls, movie theaters, schools, and other sites in the five boroughs. In six months the campaign will issue new posters to rejuvenate its domestic violence prevention message.
The City will also train public school teachers and school nurses to recognize the signs of domestic violence among students. In addition, the City is training both City employees and non-profit community-based organizations to help ensure that teenage victims of domestic violence receive immediate assistance and referrals for professional services. Training is being provided this August for over 300 hundred people and will continue throughout the year. The campaign encourages teenagers to call the domestic violence hotline for help, including referrals to the appropriate agencies, at (1 800 621-HOPE)
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.
Last month, Mayor Giuliani announced that Beth Israel Medical Center will provide free reconstructive surgery to victims of domestic violence. He also announced the formation of a partnership between HIP and Victims Services to enhance HIP providers' training to recognize signs of domestic violence, and to provide better counseling, information and support to victims.
In addition, New York City purchases health insurance for its employees and their families, which covers 1.1 million New Yorkers, and, as of January, 1998, all health insurance providers will address domestic violence as a condition of their contract with the City. New York City also requires that all Medicaid Managed Care programs contracting with the City establish domestic violence programs for their members. Over the next few years, this will account for 1.2 million New Yorkers. Both of these programs ensure that over the next few years, over 2 million New Yorkers will have health care programs with a domestic violence component.
Other 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. By revamping its Domestic Violence Law Enforcement policy, the Police Department increased domestic violence-related arrests by 71 percent between 1993 and 1995.
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 who are hearing-impaired.
Two prior Citywide Domestic Violence Public Education Campaigns have been widely announced on posters displayed 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, like 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