Public Policy and Legislative Advocacy

How is NYSCASA involved in policy work?

NYSCASA serves as a resource informing legislators, decision-makers, and systems partners about the impacts of New York State legislation, regulation, policy, and budget on sexual assault survivors and rape crisis programs. We welcome requests for feedback and recommendations around intersectional policies and budgetary issues impacting response to, intervention and prevention of sexual violence in communities across New York State.

How is NYSCASA involved in budget advocacy?

Accept vital funding from Governor Hochul to support victim assistance programs.

Incorporate the Governor’s allocation of $120 million into the ATL Budget for OVS, as outlined on pages 1019-1020, alongside a $14.4 million infusion from general funds to the Criminal Justice Improvement Act (CJIA) as detailed in PPGG Part X, page 156. This move is crucial to addressing significant financial challenges faced by non-profit organizations dedicated to assisting victims, ensuring they continue to provide indispensable services such as shelter, housing, legal aid, counseling, and more. The reality is stark; New York’s share from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) has seen a dramatic reduction of $121.6 million over the last five years, a decline of 61% in funding potency. Historically, state contributions have only compensated for 23% of this deficit. Without the proposed funding from the Governor, we stand on the brink of severe reductions to services offered by these organizations, potentially leaving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse without essential support.

 

Enough is Not Enough: Fund Safer Campuses

Increase annual funding by $5.1 million for Enough is Enough Programs and TTA, a total of $9.6 million annually.

  • New investments will provide all higher education campuses in New York State access to properly resourced EIE programs, as originally intended in 2015.
  • Additional funding will allow EIE staff to develop comprehensive and culturally responsive materials which center high-risk students and represent the full diversity of student populations.
  • Expanding the capacity of training and technical assistance (TTA) will allow greater support for EIE programs, including access to best practices in gender-based violence prevention and expert guidance in changes to federal and state laws which directly impact student survivors.

Designate an additional $1.5 million over the course of three years to fund a statewide Campus Coordinated Response Team (CCRT) demonstration project.

  • A CCRT on college campuses is a group of students, professionals, and stakeholders who work together to address and prevent campus sexual violence. They collaborate to create a comprehensive and coordinated approach, including prevention, response, policy development, training, and support for survivors.
  • Recognized as best practice in college campus sexual assault prevention and response, a standardized and robust CCRT approach will allow all campuses to better prevent sexual violence and respond to the needs of student survivors.

Conduct a formal 2024-2025 Statewide Review of Enough is Enough Compliance

  • The 2017 review conducted by the NYS Office of Campus Safety provided critical information about gaps in campus policies, challenges in training, and advertisement of available EIE resources.
  • Current information and data on campus compliance is needed in order to identify where EIE programs should provide more support to campuses.
  • A statewide review will provide EIE providers and TTA accurate, up-to-date data about the nature of campus sexual violence prevention and response in New York State, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Empowering Survivors: Financial Support for Rape Crisis Centers

Increased Funding for Rape Crisis Centers to $8,437,000 (27% increase)

The only state funding supporting rape crisis centers is $6.48M, which is distributed by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) annually

  • Despite increased need from survivors and costs to rape crisis programs, this funding has been flat for nine years.
  • If funding had remained aligned with inflation, this funding stream would amount to the current ask (an increase of 27% or $1.95M
  • While this amount is not enough to fully stabilize rape crisis programming in New York State, it is the beginning of a long overdue investment in survivors.

Increase Financial Assistance Support for Survivors to $10 Million

Announced in May 2023, the New York State FY 2024 budget includes $5 million in new state funding for grants to government entities and not-for-profit organizations to provide financial assistance to victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

  • These funds are currently only available to survivors or domestic violence, leaving survivors of sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence unable to access them. Appropriation language must be updated to include all survivors. Many programs serve a variety of survivors and need the flexibility to provide support to all who need it.
  • To meet the needs of the expanded survivor pool, funding must increase to $10 million

What is NYSCASA's legislative agenda?

Our 2024 legislative agenda is outlined below. Please contact our Interim Executive Director, Will Rivera (wrivera@nyscasa.org), if you have any feedback or questions.

  • A1065 Dinowitz/S4555A Fernandez Prohibits the use of intoxication of the victim as a defense in sex crimes where the victim is under the extreme influence of any drug, intoxicant, or other substance to a degree which renders that person incapable of giving consent and that condition is known or reasonably should be known to a person in the defendant’s situation.

 

  • A4441 Steck/S994 Hoylman-Sigal Prohibits the admissibility of evidence of a victim’s sexual conduct, sexual predisposition, or manner of dress in civil actions or proceedings.

 

  • A4604 Gonzalez-Rojas Requires comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12 which includes a model curricula for comprehensive sexuality education and at a minimum conforms to the content and scope of national sexuality education standards.

 

  • A5350A Wallace/S997A Hoylman-Sigal Prohibits the use of a victim’s DNA collected from sexual offense evidence kits from being added to the state DNA identification index or other databases or being used in certain actions.

 

  • A6138 Rosenthal/S5916 Hoylman-Sigal Exempts a civil claim or cause of action revived pursuant to section two hundred fourteen-j of the civil practice law and rules from certain filing and notice requirements.

 

  • A7927 Simon/S4358 Fernandez Provides that consent to sexual contact is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants; makes related provisions.

 

  • A8820 Fahy/ S6975 Salazar Authorizes the state inspector general to receive and investigate complaints of sexual assault in correctional facilities.

What other legislation does NYSCASA support?

New York State:

  • Fair & Timely Parole (A162 Weprin/S307 Salazar)
  • Elder Parole (A2035 Davila/S2423 Hoylman-Sigal)
  • Police Records Disclosure Bill (A2442 Gonzalez-Rojas/S2322 Bailey)
  • Kyra’s Law (A3346A Hevesi/S3170A Skoufis)
  • Destini Smothers’ Law (A5570 Anderson/S4156A Sanders)
  • Immunity Law (A7471 Kelles/S1966 Sepulveda)

What ways can I get involved?

How do I contact my legislators to support these bills?

Use the links below to contact your legislators:

Look out for upcoming events and calls to action to be a part of advocating for anti-sexual violence education, funding, intersectionality, and more!

 Get Help

If you have been sexually assaulted, call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

1-800-942-6906

 Find Crisis Centers

Search our program directory to find a rape crisis center in your area.

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