Arrests in domestic violence cases will be mandated in New York under a provision included in the state budget and highlighted Friday by state Sen. James Skoufis.
At issue was changes to the state's bail law in 2019, which did not compel mandatory arrests for charges related to domestic violence.
Skoufis had sponsored a stand-alone version of the change, which was folded into the $229 billion budget.
“Not only do victims of domestic violence deserve to be believed, they deserve true protection under law, and that starts with giving police the tools they need to keep victims safe,” he said. “By making instances of domestic violence arrest-mandatory, we’re sending a strong signal that violence has no place in our homes and that victims will be supported when they come forward. I applaud the hard work of all of our partners gathered today, and of law enforcement across Orange County, as we fight to eradicate domestic violence in our communities.”
New York lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed in a budget finalized this month to make changes to the bail law, which were meant to give judges more discretion when determining cash bail should be required in serious criminal cases.
Skoufis pointed to domestic violence cases increasing during the onset of the pandemic between 2020 and 201 in Orange County alone by 16%.
“Mandatory arrest laws are part of a coordinated community response to addressing domestic violence and send the message that domestic violence is a crime,” said Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, the executive director of Fearless!, the Hudson Valley’s domestic violence advocacy group. “Appearance tickets do not send messages of accountability, nor do they consider risk, or the potential of lethality. Systems must have the appropriate tools when necessary to hold offenders, which can enhance the safety of victims and children.”