“I thank Governor Cuomo for signing the Aggravated Domestic Violence Law, which gives prosecutors a critically important tool to better protect victims of domestic violence.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – because domestic violence is widely unreported and its victims live in fear of speaking out, few causes need as much awareness. According to New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, nearly 40 percent of battered women are victimized again within 6 months. And too often, we see domestic violence cases turn deadly. Last year, there were 92 family-related homicides. I was incredibly proud yesterday to announce the start of construction on the much-needed Manhattan Family Justice Center.
“The devastating effects of domestic violence became clear to all who listened to a father testify in court just a few weeks ago about his 23-year-old daughter’s murder at the hands of her boyfriend. The defendant, Raul Barrera, pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing this innocent young woman 30 times in her apartment because she wanted to break up with him. The father’s grief and sense of loss were palpable as he described the suffering that he, her family, and other loved ones still endure today. We should all work to make that domestic violence murder the last.
“This legislation addresses one of the underlying problems of domestic violence – the ability of offenders to abuse their victims again and again without serious consequences. It creates a class E felony for an abuser who commits two or more misdemeanor domestic violence offenses within five years, including those involving intimate partners, non-traditional familial relationships, and adult children abusing parents. Under an E felony charge, the defendants could be placed under probation supervision for five years, and in more serious cases, could be sent to state prison for up to four years. This law would also extend the period of time for orders of protection because felony orders cover periods almost twice as long as those in misdemeanor cases.
“The Aggravated Family Offense bill was the result of a partnership that my Office undertook with the Governor, the Senate, the Assembly, and domestic violence advocates throughout the state. I thank them for their strong support and tireless efforts.”