Councilmember Laurie Cumbo joined fellow elected officials and activists earlier this week to announce nearly $6 million in funding allocated to anti-domestic violence programs by the New York City Council, and to encourage those affected by domestic violence to seek help.
In an event to promote October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Councilmember Cumbo spoke at City Hall alongside domestic violence survivors, representatives from advocacy groups Safe Horizon and CONNECT, Inc., Councilmember and Public Safety Committee chair Vanessa L. Gibson, and others.
“Recently what was too often seen as a private matter best hidden behind closed doors is now a national conversation and of great concern,” said Councilmember Cumbo. “Domestic Violence is an issue that transcends gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Though this form of violence is prevalent in certain communities, its overwhelming impact on the lives of New Yorkers – particularly women and children – is undeniable and will not be tolerated.”
Councilmember Gibson noted that domestic violence is still underreported, but that the $350,000 going to HRA legal services for domestic violence victims, $600,000 going to the CONNECT, Inc. Community Empowerment Program, $1 million going to the Immigrant Battered Women’s Initiative, and $4 million to the Domestic Violence and Empowerment (DoVE) Initiative “[sends] a clear message that shedding light on the darkness of domestic violence is a critical citywide priority.”
“Young people experience an ongoing cycle of abuse,” domestic violence survivor Destiny Mabry added, “so raising awareness and offering resources to survivors, particularly young survivors, is important. Providing adequate information about violence, of any kind, is imperative for healthy relationships, families and communities.”
Public Advocate Letitia James noted that the NYPD received 17,000 more calls about domestic violence incidents in 2013 than in 2012. “It is important that [domestic violence] is treated as the public health issue that it is,” she said at the conference–a call for public and neighborly action echoed by Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang.
“Domestic violence has no place in New York City – not in our communities, not in our workplaces, not in our homes,” Zwang said. “We are grateful to the New York City Council for supporting sensible policies, legislation and budget initiatives that provide a clear path to safety for New Yorkers and their families, and offer hope and promise for a more secure future.”
Photo by William Alatriste for the New York City Council