Governor Kathy Hochul today issued a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and announced the launch of ‘Start the Conversation,’ a multi-media campaign aimed at helping New Yorkers raise this critical issue with people in their lives and communities. In addition to the campaign, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence also unveiled the winning license plate design created in partnership with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in honor of the agency’s 30th anniversary.
“Our state has come a long way since the days when my mother advocated for the survivors of domestic violence, but there is still much work to be done in helping to put an end to the abuse and suffering that far too many New Yorkers have endured over the years,” Governor Hochul said. “Throughout October, we are reminded of the need to continue evolving our approach to domestic and gender-based violence so that we can best meet the needs of survivors and their families.”
Governor Hochul also directed the following state landmarks and bridges to be illuminated purple on Saturday, Oct. 1, marking the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:
- One World Trade Center
- Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
- Kosciuszko Bridge
- The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
- State Education Building
- Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
- Empire State Plaza
- State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
- Niagara Falls
- The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
- Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
- Albany International Airport Gateway
- MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station
- Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
The ‘Start the Conversation’ campaign is aimed at better informing New Yorkers on how to raise the issue of domestic and gender violence with survivors and how to access the resources available to help them. The campaign will feature messaging on social media and broadcast radio throughout the state, along with an online toolkit with resources to help raise awareness.
Earlier this year, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) conducted a public opinion poll of 5,000 individuals statewide to better understand public perceptions of domestic violence issues. The findings suggested that while most New Yorkers are confident in their understanding of domestic and gender-based violence and that many know someone who was abused or in a controlling relationship, many believed these issues to result from outside factors — drug or alcohol use, poor impulse control, or anger problems — rather than the decisions of an abusive partner.
New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, “To be survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive, we’ve got to hear from survivors and all New Yorkers about what they think is the issue and how to solve it. That’s why this year OPDV started the conversation and surveyed 5,000 New Yorkers to get their thoughts. I am grateful to serve a Governor who understands what we need to do to end domestic and gender-based violence and has an unwavering commitment to this important issue.”
OPDV also announced the ‘End Domestic Violence’ license plate design selected by New Yorkers to honor the agency’s 30th anniversary. Created in partnership with the DMV, the design reflects the strength and resilience of survivors, and New York State ‘s commitment to support them.
License plates can be purchased beginning Wednesday, Oct. 5, by going to DMV.ny.gov. Revenue from the plates will support OPDV’s continued work to end gender-based violence through programming and public awareness.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “Too many of us have been touched in some way by domestic and gender-based violence, and we must continue to remind people that it is important to talk about it and seek help if you need it. DMV is pleased to again partner with OPDV to create the “End Domestic Violence” license plate to mark OPDV’s 30th anniversary and to continue to shine a light to show that New York supports survivors.”
Governor Hochul continues to make addressing gender-based and domestic violence a priority of her administration. This year’s enacted Fiscal Year 2023 budget secured nearly $90 million in funding for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs and aid for survivors and their families.
In July, Governor Hochul launched the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council to help increase access to domestic violence services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This spring, Governor Hochul signed legislation expanding protections for victims of domestic violence to areas of discrimination where they were not previously guaranteed -a key legislative priority she proposed in her 2022 State of the State.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, OPDV announced the issuance of a Model Gender-Based Violence and the Workplace Policy, in compliance with Governor Hochul’s April 28, 2022 Executive Order No. 17. OPDV was directed to create a policy which strengthens New York State’s procedures for addressing domestic and gender-based violence and the workplace.
Domestic violence is a serious issue facing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers -primarily women. More than 165,000 domestic violence orders of protection were issued in New York State in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated domestic violence problems, with calls to the New York State hotline increasing by nearly 45 percent from the onset of the public health crisis.
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, “Tragically, in domestic violence situations, there are often children who are also affected. We must continue to do all we can to protect and provide services to both the survivors of domestic violence and their children. I commend Governor Hochul for launching the ‘Start the Conversation’ campaign to help spread awareness of domestic violence and to inform all New Yorkers of how they can reach out to survivors and offer help and support.”
New York State Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “The Office of Victim Services invests nearly half of the federal funding it administers in community-based programs that serve victims and survivors of domestic violence and their families. Located across New York State, these programs provide services and support, such as emergency shelter, crisis counseling, court advocacy and civil legal help, that make a difference in the lives of those impacted by domestic and gender-based violence and other victims of crime. I thank Governor Hochul and our colleagues at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for their ongoing commitment to making a difference in the lives of victims and survivors.”
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “Domestic violence is one of the most challenging crimes to address and it is critical that the voices of victims and survivors of domestic and gender-based violence be heard. The Division of Criminal Justice Services provides critical funding and support to police agencies, prosecutors’ offices and service providers who are on the front lines of this important work. We are proud to join Governor Hochul and our partners at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to highlight this issue, raise awareness and demonstrate our support for survivors.”
For the past 30 years, OPDV has remained the country’s only Cabinet level agency dedicated to the issue of gender-based violence. The agency’s mission is to improve New York State’s response to and prevention of domestic and sexual violence with the goal of enhancing the safety of all New Yorkers in their intimate relationships through policy, programming, and public awareness. Survivor centered, trauma-informed, culturally responsive.
New York State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline provides free, confidential support 24/7 and is available in most languages: 800-942-6906 (call), 844-997-2121 (text) or @opdv.ny.gov (chat). Individuals also can visit www.ovs.ny.gov/connect to find a victim assistance program in their community.