Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
First Lady Chirlane McCray said “with this program, we will employ new methods of intervening, long before a call to 911.”
By Forum Staff
With a new $3.3 million investment in community programs designed to work with abusive partners who have not been involved in the criminal justice system, the City hopes to impact behavior change, reduce future abuse, and enhance domestic violence survivor safety, First Lady Chirlane McCray recently announced.
Interrupting Violence at Home, according to McCray, is a “groundbreaking” citywide effort to address domestic violence through services, training, and intervention for abusive partners who have not had any experience in courts, jails, or prisons.
“Any kind of violence is unacceptable. But as we keep survivors and families safe, we must also do everything we can to intervene directly with their abusive partners,” McCray said. “One of the tragic truths underlying domestic violence is that many offenders have themselves been victims of violence and abuse. Hurt people hurt people. But with this program, we will employ new methods of intervening, long before a call to 911.”
According to the administration, this initiative leverages national research and evidence-informed intervention models to address abusive behavior and reduce future abuse in intimate-partner violence relationships. Officials said Interrupting Violence at Home is the first of its kind in the country and will have the capacity to reach 1,600 individuals across all five boroughs.
The City has indicated that the initiative will:
• Create a City-funded community-based program for abusive partners who are not involved in the criminal justice system. This trauma-informed program will be culturally and linguistically specific and will focus on both community and family accountability.
• Create the first City-funded trauma-informed and culturally-competent accountability program for teens who have demonstrated unhealthy relationships with intimate partners and/or family members. The program will create safe, age-appropriate environments that focus on youth offending and adolescent development behaviors such as impulse control and emotion management.
• Incorporate Domestic Violence Coordinators at NYC Crisis Management System sites to enhance the identification and response to domestic violence in communities served by said sites. The rate of domestic violence-related calls to NYPD in the CMS precincts is 2.3 times higher than the rest of the city, the administration noted.
• Work with an expert consultant to develop a blueprint for implementing restorative justice practices in community-based models to address domestic violence in the five boroughs.
• Develop a specialized training curriculum to provide City agency staff working with offender populations with tools to understand offender risk factors, identify high levels of risk, and gain skills to engage with abusive partners.
According to the administration, a key focus of the Interrupting Violence at Home initiative will be creating a baseline of information regarding the identification, engagement, and intervention of abusive partners outside of the criminal justice system. This information is critical in order to continue to drive down domestic violence incidents and enhance accountability for the abusive partners as well as survivor safety, officials said. In NYC between 2010 and 2016 the City Police Department had previous contact with the victim and the offender in only 39 percent of all intimate-partner homicides.
Eric Cumberbatch, executive director of the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence, hailed the initiative’s investments as “transformative.”
“Stopping violent behavior as early as possible can change the trajectory of entire families,” he added.