$1 Million for Red Flag Law Expansion, Hochul Instates New Domestic Incident Policy

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of homes along Sheridan Drive in Amherst, New York.Photo byPhoto by J.M. Lesinski

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month continues this October, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently celebrated the acquisition of roughly $1 million to further expand use of New York state’s Red Flag Law, alongside the announcement of new guidelines for state police departments and sheriffs’ offices during their response to domestic incidents. 

"I'm committed to leading an administration that treats survivors with dignity and respect," remarked Hochul of the new guidance and funding. “This is personal to me: my mother was a lifelong advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and our family founded a transitional home for survivors in Western New York. These actions build on my administration's ongoing commitment to help survivors and provide them with the resources, support and information they need to recover and rebuild."

New York state’s new Law Enforcement Domestic Incident Model Policy officially provides trauma-informed and survivor-centered procedures and best practices to be followed with the ultimate goals of promoting safety for all involved, connecting those New Yorkers to appropriate support and services, and to better preserve crime-related evidence. 

“New York State is dedicated to working collaboratively to provide necessary resources to survivors of domestic violence,” noted New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens. “We cannot do that without speaking directly to the experts – survivors. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for recognizing this and for taking the time to truly listen. I look forward to continuing this discussion with survivors and service providers across New York State and working with the Governor to create survivor-informed policies for the State of New York.”

The $1 million for further expanded usage of New York state’s Red Flag Law in situations of gender and intimate partner-based violence will involve extended training to help further identify warning signs and provide technical assistance for involved community-based organizations in the filing of these often crucially vital orders. 

"At Safe Horizon, the nation's largest nonprofit victim assistance organization, we know all too well how the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence so often leads to tragedy,” Safe Horizon CEO Liz Roberts commented of the new guidance. “If we are going to truly create paths to safety for New Yorkers who are at risk of these and other crimes, it will take all of us - government and the victim services community - working together to keep families safe. I am grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and her team for uplifting the voices of survivors and for pledging to do all they can to make New York a beacon of safety and healing."

Also referred to as the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Law, the Red Flag Law is designed to help bar any individual designated a risk to themselves or others from buying or acquiring a firearm. 

“It takes an incredible amount of courage for someone in an abusive relationship to seek help from the police,” stated New York State Office for Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin. “Once they take that step, even making that call can cause a dangerous situation to escalate, so it’s critically important that police officers have the best information, training, and skills when they respond. I thank Municipal Police Training Council members for their leadership and urge all police agencies take advantage of this important guidance.”

Following the 2022 mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, Hochul has greatly expanded overall usage of the Red Flag Law across New York state. 

“Domestic incidents are among the most common and serious calls agencies receive,” New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado remarked. “This comprehensive model policy is designed to provide responding officers with the information, tools, and resources they need to effectively handle these cases. I thank the members of the Municipal Police Training Council and my team at DCJS for their work and commitment to improving policing and how the criminal justice system responds to victims and survivors.”

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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