New Laws Improve Domestic Violence Victims' Ability to Report Crimes of Abuse

Aug 12, 2019

People marched and rallied last year against domestic violence in Syracuse. New laws signed this past week by Governor Cuomo make it possible to report abuse to any law enforcement agency in the state, regardless of where abuse took place, and add financial coercion and control to domestic violence law as crimes.
Credit Allegra Craver/WAER News

A couple of new measures just signed into law by Governor Cuomo hold promise for helping victims of domestic violence report a range of abuse.  One form of control by an abuser is financial schemes.


Vera House Director of Advocacy Jolie Moran says opening a credit card in the victim’s name, identity theft, and other coercion are all types of domestic violence.

“Economic abuse is an incredible barrier for somebody who is experiencing domestic violence and looking at potentially leaving a relationship.  Oftentimes it impacts (the) ability to even think about leaving a relationship.” 

One new law broadens the crime of domestic violence to include economic schemes and control.  Survivors also flee abusive situations and can find themselves far from where the abuse occurred.  Moran explains a victim might not feel safe.

“So oftentimes, perhaps either they are moving to Onondaga County because they have friends or family or someone safe that they can stay with, or perhaps they’re accessing our shelter services.  What we have found in the past is it has sometimes inhibited our ability to quickly make some sort of report to law enforcement, if that individual chooses.” 

Another new law allows victims to report abuse to any law enforcement agency, regardless of where the abuse took place.  Moran adds Vera House works closely with police and district attorneys to be up on these legal changes.

“We’re working with people who are living in our community who may or may not be in our shelter.  Although we’re not attorneys, by working in that system we have developed competency and understanding of a lot of the different, various laws.  And then we can help communicate to victims and survivors what perhaps their options may be.”

Moran praised the signing of the new laws … saying they help New York catch up with other states in response to domestic and sexual violence.