Contact: Colleen Roche/Matthew Higgins (212) 788-2958
Joining the Mayor for the announcement were Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence Chair Dr. Maria K. Mitchell and Executive Director Rhea N. Mallett, Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner Jason Turner, New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Howard Safir, Bell Atlantic Mobile Public Relations Director Nancy Stark, and Bell Atlantic Vice President for Governmental Affairs Frank McLaughlin.
"Many victims of domestic violence live in constant fear, wondering if their abusers will one day resurface," Mayor Giuliani said. "The ATS program addresses the problems that occur when domestic violence victims are forced to leave everything behind - their homes, their friends, their jobs and even their families - by providing them with alternatives to relocation. By keeping the batterer out of the home and allowing the victims to remain in their homes, the ATS program is an important step in ending the vicious cycle of domestic violence. I would like to thank Bell Atlantic and Bell Atlantic Mobile for generously donating equipment to help make this alternative possible."
Through ATS, victims of domestic violence who have obtained full orders of protection are provided with a free 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. The Police Department gives ATS alarms priority status and police officers in ATS participating Precincts receive special training tailored to the program.
In the report released today -- The Alternative to Shelter Project: Evaluation and Proposed Expansion -- the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence recommended the expansion of ATS, which would make it the largest program of its kind in the nation. In evaluating the pilot program the Commission found that none of the eleven participants in ATS reported a single incident of physical assault while in the program, although each victim had indicated they were subjected to between 7 and 50 physically violent incidents in the year prior to their involvement in the program.
"The City is now expanding the 1995 ATS pilot following extensive evaluation and review in which participants reported feeling safer and more empowered," Dr. Mitchell said. "By implementing the recommendations to expand the ATS program, the success of the pilot program will be replicated citywide."
ATS will be expanded to 10 precincts citywide: the 25th and 28th Precincts in Manhattan; the 43rd and 44th Precincts in the Bronx; the 113th, 105th and 115th Precincts in Queens; the 75th and 83rd Precincts in Brooklyn; and the 120th Precinct in Staten Island. Bell Atlantic Mobile is donating 100 wireless phones pre-programmed to dial 911 at the touch of a button. Bell Atlantic is providing free caller identification to program participants.
The Human Resources Administration will be the lead agency for the ATS program, providing full-time case management for program participants. The NYPD, partnering with HRA, will provide training to Officers in ATS-member Precincts.
An additional component of ATS is a public education campaign that will increase community awareness about domestic violence and will feature posters bearing the slogan, "Is it your business if your neighbor beats his wife? You bet her life it is."
ATS has been preceded by a series of initiatives introduced by Mayor Giuliani to combat domestic violence. Some of those initiatives include: