At today’s Stated Meeting, District 22 Council Member Tiffany Cabán, who serves as Chair for the Committee on Women and Gender Equity, introduced the “Support Survivors” legislative package – three items related to services and protections for survivors of violence, particularly domestic, intimate partner, sexual, and gender-based violence.

Two local laws would establish a housing stability program of low-barrier, urgently accessible  grants for survivors (Int 0153-2022) and a new and improved online portal and guide where the many city- and CBO-provided survivor services are aggregated – and translated into the major languages, including braille – for easy access (Int 0154-2022), and the resolution would call on Albany to provide paid leave for survivors, ideally as a stepping stone to universal paid leave (Res 0111-2022).

“It’s time we did right by survivors,” said CM Cabán. “Along with my colleagues, I am committed to removing the barriers to accessing services that the Committee on Women and Gender Equity has found survivors face, as well as proactively establishing the programs that survivors say they need. The ‘Support Survivors’ legislative package is a bold step toward a city where survivors of violence can find healing, growth, and safety. For too long, this city has cynically used survivors’ trauma and pain merely as a pretext to ramp up policing, prosecution, and incarceration, leaving the actual survivors without access to the services and protections they need. No more.”

The “Support Survivors” legislative package includes:

  • Int 0153-2022, along with CMs Hanif, Louis, Ayala, Ung, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

This bill would require the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), in consultation with the Department of Social Services (DSS) and community-based domestic violence organizations, to establish a program to provide survivors of domestic violence with a low-barrier grant for urgent expenses and domestic violence-related services. ENDGBV, DSS and community-based domestic violence organizations would produce an initial and annual reports on the program, which the Office would post on its website.

  • Int 0154-2022, along with CMs Riley, Louis, Ayala, Ung, and PA Williams

This bill would require the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence to create an online portal and a written resource guide of available services for survivors of domestic, gender-based and intimate partner violence. The bill would also require the Office to conduct outreach on the portal and guide and ensure the portal is secure and confidential to protect the privacy of survivors. 

A Resolution calling on New York State to pass legislation that would provide domestic violence survivors and their families with job-protected, paid leave, similar to that of New York State’s Paid Family Leave law, to be used for any activities relating to their actual or perceived status as a domestic violence survivor or family member of a domestic violence survivor 

“As a non profit organization that provides DV services, WECNYC cannot express enough support for the survivor services portal and guide,” said Kawthar Abdullah of the Women’s Empowerment Coalition of NY (WECNYC). “Many of our clients stayed in abusive relationships because they did not know that there’s help out there due to language barrier. There’s a lot of shame around DV and sometimes DV survivors don’t openly ask for help out of fear and or shame. Having a comprehensive online portal that lists all of the city-provided DV services as well as a list of all CBOs and their programming and the languages spoken at each agency, gives survivors the privacy and comfort to seek help.”

“AVP supports efforts to ensure survivors of domestic, gender-based and intimate partner violence have access to the resources they need to stay safe and thrive,” said Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). “We will continue to prioritize collaboration with the City Council and the Administration to advance legislation that creates tangible remedies for those who most need support. All survivors deserve efficient, effective, and fully funded programs that best meet their needs.”

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project: STOP issued the following statement: “We applaud this portal and the commitment to confidentiality, but we know that protecting privacy is easier said than done. We must ensure that these systems truly implement privacy by design and the protections we need to ensure survivors are safe. The city must inspect every aspect of the portal, from how content is delivered to data analytics, to put privacy and safety first.”

“In a normal year, 21-55% of Asian women in the U.S. report being victims of physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and the last two years of the COVID pandemic have only worsened this situation,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “Many of our member organizations serving domestic violence survivors have reported an unprecedented increase in calls for help during the ongoing COvid pandemic. Councilmember Tiffany Caban’s introduction of bills to provide economic support and additional resources to survivors of gender-based violence is an important step in ensuring that survivors get the help they need at a time when they need it the most.”

“In the last two years, we have seen an uptick in the number of immigrant women and gender expansive people in the Indo-Caribbean community and in communities of color across this city who are impacted by gender-based violence,” said Simone Jhingoor and Shivana Jorawar, Co-Directors of Jahajee Sisters. “Grassroots organizations like ours have stepped up to address this crisis head on, but so much more support is needed. Survivors deserve to have access to trauma-informed care and economic and housing protections that will support their ability to be stable and well. We thank Council Member Tiffany Cabán for introducing this critical legislation.”

“These set of legislative actions we introduced today are key toward rebuilding for those affected by violence,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala of District 8. “Having access to funds to cover urgent expenses is fundamental toward independence. Additionally, the creation of a portal resource guide readily available, further empowers survivors to rebuild and restore their lives.”

“Too many victims of domestic violence are trapped in unsafe situations because they cannot access affordable housing. With this legislation, introduced alongside Council Member Caban, our City can take proactive measures to support survivors,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif of District 39. “Our bill will create a fund dedicated to providing grants and essential resources to ensure domestic violence survivors can find safe and stable housing. With this support, we can help thousands of people leave abusive situations and create a more caring, and safer, City for everyone.”

“As an attorney who worked with domestic violence survivors, many of them immigrant women, I spoke with countless survivors who were forced to stay in their abusive situations because they had nowhere else to go and because they were unable to access the help they needed in a language other than English,” said Council Member Sandra Ung of District 20. “Providing those brave survivors the assistance they need to maintain their housing, as well provide services in multiple languages and in a culturally appropriate manner, will support them as they build their new lives and eliminate two of the hurdles they faced to leaving their former lives in the first place. I want to thank Council Member Tiffany Cabán for introducing these two important pieces of legislation, and look forward to working with her as they move through the City Council.”

“The City must set the standard for survivor protection against domestic, gender-based, and intimate partner violence,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley of District 12. “As elected officials it is our duty to ensure that appropriate legislation exists that is conducive to maximizing the support and resources survivors rely on to maintain their healing. With the push for an online portal and written resource guide from the Mayor’s Office, we will create opportunities for more expansive, culturally competent outreach to survivors. I am happy to Co-Prime this piece of legislation with my colleagues, Council Members Cabán, Louis, and Ayala, leading the charge against domestic and gender-based violence. This bill will assure survivors feel more confident and comfortable in our relief services with the addition of this comprehensive online portal. I encourage my colleagues in the New York City Council to support this legislation, which will improve the network for survivor resources citywide. ”

“By establishing an online portal and guide for survivors of domestic violence, we are helping individuals take safe steps to obtain employment, healthy living environments, access to much needed therapeutic and mental health services, and much more,” said Council Member Farah Louis of District 45. “As a survivor of domestic violence, I am dedicated to supporting and advocating for survivors which is why I am honored to co-sponsor this bill. The Stability Fund Project signifies the City Council’s commitment to investing in resources for survivors of domestic violence and expansion to access to essential services to aid individuals through the reclamation process.”