News Round-up February 20th, 2015

Domestic Violence Fatality Rate Drops in New York City:

  • On February 2, The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence released a report showing that domestic-violence homicides, also known as family-related homicides have declined 36% in the past decade. The report is the result of efforts by the Fatality Review Committee (FRC), established in 2005. The FRC is chaired by Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and the staff is comprised on members of ten city agencies, two representatives from social services agencies and two survivors of domestic violence. The FRC provides the opportunity for various city agencies to work together to combat domestic violence by reviewing statistics and making recommendations on where to improve.
  • In 2013, there were 62 domestic violence homicides, which accounted for almost twenty percent of homicides reported in New York City. The report shows that Brooklyn and the Bronx have the highest rates at 36% and 25% respectively, and that homicides tend to occur more frequently in areas with high poverty or other “low socioeconomic indicators.”
  • The decline in domestic-violence homicides can be attributed in part to the NYPD’s response to 284,660 domestic violence incidents, and also the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence’s initiatives: New York City Housing Authority Domestic Violence Response Team (NYCHA DVRT) and the Coordinated Approach to Preventing Stalking (CAPS). NYCHA DVRT provides rapid responses to high risk domestic violence situations and promotes awareness by outreach programs with partners such as the New York City Family Justice Centers. CAPS is currently only operating in Staten Island and looks to increase the reporting of and enhance the results in stalking arrests and prosecutions.


Death With Dignity Bill Introduced in New York:

  • In Albany, legislation similar to Oregon’s Death With Dignity Law has been introduced to the State Senate. A similar bill was introduced by the New York State Assembly on January 15, 2015.
  • Under this bill, adults would be able to end their own lives by obtaining a prescription from a physician for a lethal dose of medication. To qualify, the patient would have to be terminally ill, but mentally competent. The terminal illness would be defined as incurable and irreversible, and would likely cause death within six months of diagnosis. Before the lethal dose can be prescribed, two physicians must confirm the diagnosis and two witnesses must be present to show that the decision was voluntary. Anyone participating in decisions that are coerced or forged will be charged with felonies.
  • Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have laws that permit patients to request medical assistance in ending their lives. Similar bills are being introduced in thirteen states and Washington, D.C. The catalyst for this legislation was the death of Brittany Maynard in Ohio on November 1, 2014. Ms. Maynard chose to end her life after receiving the diagnosis of a terminal brain cancer. She moved from California to Oregon, where she would be able to choose to die.


Municipal Id Law Contains a Clause to Protect Personal Information

  • In January 2015, New York City officially began to issue municipal ID cards. The municipal ID card can be obtained by all New York City residents including an estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants.
  • In order to be issued a municipal ID card, an individual must provide his or her name, address, and proof of residency in one of the five boroughs (among other things).
  • Having a municipal ID card will allow undocumented immigrants to gain access to city services that they may not have had access to without acceptable identification.
  • Many undocumented immigrants and immigration advocates fear that if an applicant’s personal information is somehow obtained by immigration officials that it will undoubtedly lead to massive amounts of deportations.
  • However, the municipal ID law preemptively deals with the possibility of an individual’s personal information being leaked. The drafters of the law thought of the ways in which information from the database could be misused.
  • The clause in the law which protects an applicant’s privacy states that the information in the program’s database can be destroyed by the city on December 30, 2016, just a few weeks before the next president would take office on January 20, 2017.
  • To read more about this, please click here. (New York Post)