Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dutchess County, NY: Domestic violence report presented to Dutchess legislature

We know that there is a connection between the rise in domestic violence homicide in Dutchess County and their broken custody court system that has only served to encourage abusers and make mothers afraid to leave their abusers.  We need to put out this message as it could be an opportunity to have them focus on this problem.

Domestic violence report presented to Dutchess legislature

POUGHKEEPSIE – Two recent murders, tied to domestic violence, came as a sobering reminder to Dutchess County lawmakers about the seriousness of a problem that threatens the entire community.

County Legislature Chairman Robert Rolison asked a Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence to spend 45 days working on recommendations.  The committee presented its report at last night’s monthly legislative session.

It’s about saving human lives, said Committee Chairperson Leah Feldman.

“As you read through this report and consider our recommendations, please remember that we are asking for your support for services that human lives,” she said. “If the past few months in our county have taught us anything, it is the fatal, devastating and far-reaching effects that domestic violence is having on our community.”

Marjorie Smith, chief of the special victims’ bureau in the District Attorney’s office, presented three recommendations:

  • Restore lost services, including those cut as part of the 2010 budget
  • Consider the feasibility of GPS monitoring of convicted abusers
  • Utilize ‘lethality assessment instruments’, to make sure that resources are directed at the proper cases.

Smith said economic challenges should not stand in the way of doing what must be done to deal with domestic violence.

“We fully recognize that this is a dire economic situation.  These recommendations that are contained in this report are not merely ‘feel good’ recommendations.”

Smith added, “The cost of the status quo is not acceptable.”

Rolison urged the legislature to listen to, then read, the report, and not rush into coming up with quick solutions. 

“As a matter of fact, this probably is going to take quite some time to do in a very comprehensive way, as this report has been put together in a very comprehensive way.  So I would again ask my colleagues to hold off on trying to maybe move things forward quicker than would probably be prudent.”

Rolison has asked legislator Ken Roman, a Town of Poughkeepsie police officer, and chair of the Public Safety Committee, to hold a series of workshops, to “go through the report comprehensively”.

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