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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Tami Underhill

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Orleans County Domestic Violence Task Force has chosen to educate the community about important recent changes to the New York State Domestic Violence Law.
As of July 2008, there are fewer barriers to legal protection for victims of domestic violence. Civil orders of protection and mandatory arrests are now available to all individuals who are involved in intimate relationships. 
Before this change in the law, victims of domestic violence were only able to obtain a civil order of protection if the victim and the perpetrator were married to each other- either currently or previously, or if the victim and perpetrator had children in common. Otherwise, the level of abuse would need to be at the criminal level for the victim to obtain an order of protection through Criminal Court. These stipulations also applied to mandatory arrest laws.
Recent changes, referred to as “expanded access”, now provide additional legal protection to victims of domestic violence who are in cohabitating relationships, same-sex relationships, teenage relationships, and other “unmarried” intimate relationships. 
New York State is the last state in the United States to make these changes to the domestic violence law.
You can find additional information about expanded access laws on-line, through the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
I am also available to provide additional information at Catholic Charities,
343-0614, x16.

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