NYS Addresses Domestic Violence

NYS Addresses Domestic Violence

Published On: 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Domestic violence is difficult to track, often unreported, and has long-lasting impacts on affected individuals and families. However, New York State (NYS) is working toward a more comprehensive approach to counting victims and enacting legislation to support them.

Domestic Violence Victims, per 10,000 ResidentsNationwide, an estimated 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[1] In the Mid-Hudson Valley, more than 3,500 people reported domestic violence in 2014, for a rate of 42 victims per 10,000 residents. That was just below the state (excluding NYC) rate of 44 per 10,000. Since 2011, the region’s rate has been close to the state rate. Of the three counties in the region, Dutchess had the lowest rate in 2014 (32), followed by Ulster (41), while Orange had a much higher rate than the region (50).

Since 2009, the rate of reported domestic violence in the region overall has increased 7%, as compared to a 4% decline at the state level. And at the county level, the changes have varied considerably.  The rate grew the most in Orange, increasing 33%, compared to an increase of 8% in Ulster and a decrease of 22% in Dutchess.

In 2008, NYS changed its definition of domestic violence, expanding it to include same-sex and unmarried couples. While this important expansion of the definition allows for more accurate counting of victims, it also prevents assessing long-term trends using data prior to 2009.

In addition, the problem is historically underreported, with advocates estimating that as much as 70% of incidents may go unreported. Reasons for not reporting are myriad - a parent may be concerned about breaking up a family; a victim may not have the necessary financial resources to leave; and there is a stigma often associated with domestic violence.[2]

In October of 2015, NYS enacted domestic violence legislation as part of the Women’s Equality Agenda.  This included a law prohibiting housing discrimination aimed at victims who might otherwise be prohibited from renting, and a pilot program to allow victims to seek temporary orders of protection electronically vs. in-person. 

Domestic violence is often an undercurrent negatively affecting families and communities. Community concerns around safe neighborhoods and housing, job and workforce development, early childhood development, school attendance and achievement – all are impacted by domestic violence. For example, children in abusive homes are more likely to be either victims or abusers as adults, and adults experiencing abuse are more likely to miss time at work, leading to reduced earnings and lower chances of professional advancement.[3]

For more on domestic violence in the Mid-Hudson Valley, see our indicator.


[1] The National Domestic Violence Hotline, www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics

[2] Felson et. al., 2002: “Reasons for Reporting and Not Reporting Domestic Violence to the Police” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2002.tb00968.x/abstract

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