Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced a second pilot program to provide support for upstate girls who need to leave their homes to escape domestic violence. The program would eventually help up to 750 women and give them assistance with legal services, counseling and other services.

Governor Cuomo’s announcement stems from an initiative that I co-authored along with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in August 2017, titled The Promise of NY, to develop a model for treating domestic violence in New York that is regional, comprehensive and permanent. That means not just addressing domestic violence in New York City, the story said.

Such programs have been prevalent across the country for more than a decade. Several bills have already been written to address these issues in New York, and state lawmakers have discussed a broader package of laws that may include protections for those leaving abusive relationships. They are trying to do so as evidence continues to show that domestic violence continues to make headlines even after national incidents like the shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev.

“This is not shelter in place in NY,” Gov. Cuomo says. So what is it?

In cities across the country, city governments, civil-rights groups and the private sector, among others, have created safe, supportive or respite homes for women fleeing dangerous situations. Some have been models for others. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio developed one such shelter called Family House, and the Trump administration announced in 2016 that the National Institute of Justice wanted to encourage organizations to look at their efforts in that direction.

For example, the Guardian Community Health Center in Los Angeles has provided up to $500,000 to eight shelters run by nonprofits, non-profits or for-profit companies throughout California. St. Francis Women’s Shelter, a facility located in Baldwin, N.Y., accepts referrals from caregivers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. And in North Carolina, two women’s shelters “experimenting with householding-style families,” run by the non-profit Safe Haven Outreach, received funds under a pilot project to set up three similar programs in the state.

Domestic violence doesn’t stop at a red light. Federal and state legislatures may be considering laws to establish laws around domestic violence. Currently, a federal law, the Violence Against Women Act, has been used as a model for many state laws. Although states have taken their own approaches to domestic violence, there hasn’t been a comprehensive, nationwide plan, said Laurie Pollak, director of the Women’s Study of Poverty and Displacement program at Brown University’s Richard Geldzahler Center for Poverty Research.

“If we make it clear that addressing domestic violence is a national priority, we could prevent the problems that states see as interrelated,” Pollak said.

With more attention on New York’s pilot program, Pollak hopes that it will spark the start of similar initiatives around the country. She said such programs are less likely to play well on the national stage if they don’t explicitly ask for state or federal funding to get off the ground.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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