New Laws Protecting Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Victims

By: Mallory McGee

Last month, Governor Cuomo signed into law two important provisions protecting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Cuomo believes that the laws will close a “potentially dangerous loophole and will help ensure that victims receive the protections that they deserve.”

The first law,  Chapter 240 of 2015, applies to defendants convicted of felony sexual assault. In these instances, the new law provides a ten year order of protection. This allows for the victims to receive protection through the term of probation, which is maxed at ten years. If the charge was a misdemeanor, then a mandatory six year order of protection is ordered, which is the maximum period of probation allowed. Previously, according to Criminal Procedure Law §530.12, a domestic violence victim’s order of protection would often expire before the end of the probation period. The law also amends Criminal Procedure Law §530.13 which covers crime victims not in family offenses. This amendment provides the same protections under §530.12. This law goes into effect 30 days from the signing by Cuomo.

The second law,  Chapter 241 of 2015, makes it easier for victims of domestic violence and other crimes who wish to change their name to obtain waivers for the requirement to publish any name changes in a newspaper. The amended Civil Rights Law §64-a now gives courts broad discretion to determine whether a person’s safety would be at risk by publishing a victim’s name change. This discretion is not limited to direct threats against the personal safety of the victim.… <Read More>

Welcome Back For the 2015-2016 Year!

Welcome back to all students, professors, and staff to another year at New York Law School. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the law school and will include many celebratory events. There are also many events planned with the Impact Center, including the Beyond Permanency: Challenges for Former Foster Youth Symposium on Friday October 23, 2015 from 9:00am – 5:00pm, which is co-sponsored by the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families of the Impact Center, The Children’s Law Center, and others.

This year, Just Families, would like to welcome Allyson Guidera as the newest blog editor and welcome back one of last year’s editors, Mallory McGee. We would also like to welcome symposium editor Jarien James.

We welcome any students, alumni, or faculty to write for the blog and look forward to another year of providing the latest legal news in family law and commentary on family law cases and topics.… <Read More>

News Round-up April 27th, 2015

Reintroduction of the Pets and Women Safety Act:

  • Congress is joining states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in protecting the pets of domestic violence victims. The bill, commonly known as The Pets and Women Protection Act (“PAWS”), was reintroduced in March by Congresswoman Katherine Clark. According to the bill’s sponsors, victims of domestic violence often stay in abusive environments out of fear that the abuser will hurt their pet or return to a relationship upon threats of harm to the pet. It can be difficult to take the pets with them when they leave because many shelters do not accept pets.
  • PAWS would expand current federal Personal Protection Laws to include the pets of domestic violence victims. It established grants for institutions that can help victims of domestic violence and their pets with specified housing assistance, support services, and training. Finally, PAWS includes a provision providing for all losses incurred for veterinary costs as a result of injuries to the pet by the abuser.
  • PAWS currently has 50 sponsors, but no date has been scheduled yet for a vote.
  • For the original New Round-up on this bill click here.


Families Push Legislators for More Charter Schools:

  • About 30 families are calling on Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to create more charter schools. This was originally part of the state’s budget; however, it was dropped. The current law provides for 25 more charter schools and the cap was set at 460. Families are asking for officials to “Raise the Cap.”
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News Round-up April15th, 2015

New Rules in New York City Day-cares:

  • The Board of Health for the City of New York has issued stricter rules on the amount of juice children can drink at licensed daycare facilities. For children over two years old, juice will be limited to 4 ounces per day, and only 100% juice is allowed. Children under the age of two are not allowed to drink juice.
  • Under the new rules, children are also limited to 30 minutes of screen time per day, which is down from 60 minutes. Screen time allows children to watch movies or shows on televisions or iPads. The rules for “sedentary time” do not apply to when children are napping or during reading time or arts and crafts time.
  • The new rules are aimed at preventing childhood obesity by allowing for children to be more active during the day and to avoid sugary drinks. Some critics of the rules believe that this is just another way for the city to control its constituents and reminds them of former Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt at soda restrictions.

Department of Consumer Affairs Must Provide Young Adults With Outreach and Education Regarding Consumer Protection Issues:

  • On March 30, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Intro. 458-A.
  • This law requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide young adults, ages 16-24, with information that would increase their financial literacy.
  • The agency is to provide outreach and education measures, which will target consumer issues that would typically affect young adults in the 16-24 year old age range, such as: credit card debt, student loans, and leasing or purchasing a motor vehicle.
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News Round-up March 20th, 2015

Mayor Proposes Changes at Rikers Island:

  • Mayor de Blasio has introduced proposals to help reduce violence and eliminate smuggling at Rikers Island. Some of the proposals include: improving the security cameras, a computerized screening system, creating an inmate education program, and changing the policies for visitors. The proposal also includes plans to create a new inmate classification system and separate warring inmates and gang members.
  • Under the new visitor policy, visitor-inmate physical contact would be limited to a hug at the beginning and end of the visit. There will also be plexiglass partitions installed to separate inmates and visitors. The goal of this is to avoid the smuggling of contraband, which can lead to a reduction in violence because disputes among inmates often stem from the possession of contraband.
  • Critics of the Mayor’s proposal, including the Prisoners’ Rights Project at the Legal Aid Society, say that visitation is one of the only outlets inmates have to keep them sane in jails. Visitation during incarceration can often play a part in whether or not the inmate ends up back in jail after release.
  • The proposals will be presented to the Board of Correction in May and, if approved, will take effect in August.


Legislators Propose Common Core Test Opt-Out:

  • Legislators are proposing a bill that will allow parents to opt-out of common core curriculum tests. The bill, named the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, would require schools to inform parents of students in grades three through eight by mail, email or a letter sent home with the child that the child may refuse to take any of the standardized tests administered under the Common Core standards.
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