Recently, anti-domestic violence advocates held a conference in Rockland County, New York, where October was designated as the Domestic violence awareness month. The goal of the conference and of the activists is to work to empower the victims of domestic violence to end the problem and to bring awareness to it. The activists were joined by district attorneys and local office holders who highlighted programs designed to fight domestic abuse. According to some of the activists, there is much work to be done in order to fight the problem; in New York State, there were 85,000 cases of domestic violence last year and 60 deaths. According to one estimate, one in four women will be affected by domestic violence. A Rockland County activist said that approximately 250 to 300 people came to their walk-in office per month. The conference highlighted numerous events throughout October to help victims, remember those who died, and thank supporters of their efforts.
While much of the attention directed at the social problem of domestic violence has focused on battered wives, men are also the victim of domestic abuse, a problem that is frequently overlooked. According a 2010 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25 percent of men are the victims of rape, stalking, or domestic violence by a significant other. The study's findings report a decrease in the number of domestic abuse incidents against women, but an increase in the number of incidents against men. This is likely due to the fact that domestic violence against men is still considered a taboo subject among many, as well as a source of shame and embarrassment. In addition, many male victims of domestic violence are in same-sex relationships and may not report the crime due to a fear of having their homosexual status made public. Men are considered to be the stronger gender, so being beaten by a spouse may be seen as a sign of weakness.
The borough of Staten Island is making plans to build a shelter for victims of domestic violence in response to the increasing occurrence of domestic assault arrests in the area. The shelter is being described as a "one-stop haven" where victims of domestic assault will meet with prosecutors and counselors to discuss their cases. Similar centers are already in operation in Brooklyn and Queens, with one in Manhattan also scheduled to open. The centers are operated by the New York City Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
Recently, the former mayor of White Plains, New York, was acquitted by a jury of domestic violence charges after a re-trial of the original case. The mayor previously had been convicted of harassment and attempted assault of his ex-wife, who alleged that he threw hot tea at her and intentionally slammed a door on her fingers. The domestic abuse allegations led to his resignation as mayor, ending a once-promising political career. His convictions later were overturned by an appeals court, which held that he had been wrongfully denied the opportunity to call witnesses in his defense against the accusations, leading to the need for a retrial. At the retrial, a witness for the husband alleged that the wife stated that the door-slamming incident might have been an accident, casting doubt on her allegations of domestic violence.
Police in the Bronx recently arrested a 42-year-old man for domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend and a female friend. During the arrest, the man was shot in the wrist by police.
Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that increases the penalties for domestic abuse offenses. Repeated instances of domestic violence are no longer considered misdemeanors, but instead are felonies. Also, the new legislation requires that judges consider more risks that the defendant poses before setting bail. This fixes the problem of domestic assault perpetrators getting a low bail, which would allow them the chance to abuse the victim again before trial.