Victims of domestic violence and the police officers who respond to the incidents now have more protection under a revised Domestic Incident Report unveiled on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The streamlined form allows law enforcement to collect more detailed information to enhance investigations, improve officer safety and connect domestic violence victims with services to help them break the cycle of abuse.
"We must do all we can to protect domestic violence victims, ensure they have access to the resources that they need, and help law enforcement bring abusers to justice," Cuomo said. "The wide range of information collected by this redesigned report will play a vital role in holding these offenders accountable and providing victims with the support they need to break this cycle of violence."
The revisions eliminate duplication and provide more space for narrative details, victim interview information and statements from witnesses and/or suspects. The re-design also allows officers to more accurately document factors that put victims at risk, a victim's emotional state and any prior history of domestic violence – all of which are crucial to assessing the physical danger a victim is facing.
Additionally, the updated report allows officers to better detail evidence at a scene that can aid in prosecution if an arrest is made. For example, officers can now document information about the crime of strangulation, a common form of domestic violence that can be difficult to prove because often there are no visible physical injuries to a victim.
"The new and improved report has the potential to increase safety for victims of domestic violence. Police officers are required to ask a series of questions that indicate risk, and if any are answered affirmatively, they must immediately refer the victim to appropriate services," said Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Gwen Wright.
Police officers will begin using the forms this month.
Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence can seek help by calling the state’s multilingual, toll-free hotline – 1-800-942-6906 – or 711 for the hearing impaired. In New York City: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673), 311 or TTY: 1-866-604-5350.
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