First Lady McCray Announces Launch of Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence

September 7, 2018

The new office, enacted by Mayor de Blasio via Executive Order, expands the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; enhances the City’s strategic response to intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking

NEW YORK— First Lady Chirlane McCray, joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio and Commissioner Cecile Noel, today announced the launch of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence to enhance the City’s strategic response to intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. Mayor de Blasio signed Executive Order 36 to enact the new Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), mandating a citywide, coordinated response to address domestic and gender-based violence.

Under the new mandate, the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will prioritize developing and expanding services for survivors of sexual assault, family violence and trafficking; launching a citywide outreach team, and enhancing trainings for City agencies and community stakeholders; creating opportunities for data collection and information sharing; and develop a legislative agenda for domestic and gender-based violence. Additionally, the new Executive Order creates an Advisory Committee, chaired by ENDGBV, to review individual case level data of gender-based, and domestic violence fatalities. This is the first Advisory Committee of its kind in the country to engage in an intensive review of gender-based violence fatalities and develop innovative recommendations to enhance responses and interventions.

“There is no place for violence or hatred in New York City. I’m proud to sign this executive order, which significantly expands our work to combat domestic violence and help victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking. We are sending a clear message to all survivors that they are not alone and we encourage them to speak out and stand up,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“All survivors in New York City – whether they experienced violence in the home, sexual assault, stalking or trafficking – should have easy access to pathways for safety, healing and the support they need for a full recovery," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “When they take the courageous step to seek help, we want them to find that every door is the right door. The Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will be central to our efforts as a city to address the needs of all survivors.”

“New York City is a place where no one should feel afraid to seek help. With this Executive Order, the City is defining domestic and gender-based violence in the widest possible way because domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking are interrelated crimes of power and control. If we can see gender-based violence for what it is and name it, we can help survivors come forward without shame,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “Through this expansion, we’re bringing the tools and resources of government under one roof, ensuring better coordination of City resources and increasing services so victims and survivors of sexual assault and trafficking can receive timely and adequate support.”

“It is imperative that survivors of domestic and gender-based violence know that we as their elected officials are here to listen and to help. The expansion of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) to affirmatively include gender-based violence will provide the services survivors need and deserve, and the Council will do everything in its power to support this new office and every New Yorker that survives such senseless violence. I thank First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Dr. Herminia Palacio and the entire de Blasio administration for their commitment to ending domestic and gender-based violence,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

The expansion of the Office’s mission would provide the authority to the Office to coordinate services, create policy and interventions, and develop citywide system responses to gender-based and domestic violence issues. Domestic violence is one part of a larger continuum of issues related to gender-based violence, which includes intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. These issues all require comprehensive, coordinated, multi-agency responses, policies, and programs, and a lead office overseeing efforts. Currently, responses to incidents in these areas are largely criminal justice focused.

The Office will continue to perform the functions and responsibilities assigned to it under section 19 of the City Charter, including chairing the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee, which reviews aggregate-level data of domestic violence fatalities and develops recommendations for enhancing domestic violence response in New York City. The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will also continue to co-lead the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice (MOCJ), and operate the City’s five Family Justice Centers that provide comprehensive services for survivors and their families in each borough.

The mayor’s executive order builds on the Administration’s deep commitment to enhancing the City’s response to issues of gender-based violence. Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio signed 11 bills to combat workplace sexual harassment, which included mandatory anti-sexual harassment training and the expansion of sexual harassment protections under the New York City Human Rights Law.

In February, the City also launched its first-ever web-based portal, NYC HOPE, dedicated to providing resources to survivors and information to all City residents about how to help someone experiencing domestic violence. The City has additionally invested $11 million in domestic violence programming through the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force, including the First Lady’s announcement in October 2017 to expand healthy relationship education programming to 128 middle schools across the City.

The Mayor also signed the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (Local Law 119) to expand NYC’s paid leave laws to employees who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking, so they can focus on taking actions to enhance their safety without fearing loss of income. This was the first paid safe leave legislation to include trafficking survivors. And, earlier this year in May, First Lady McCray announced Interrupting Violence At Home, a groundbreaking citywide effort to address domestic violence through services, training, and intervention for abusive partners who are not involved in the criminal justice system.

“With this expansion of the Office’s mission, we are responding to the voices of survivors and advocates, and taking a critical step as a City to more effectively address the broad continuum of gender-based violence,” said the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel. “Enhancing our Office’s ability to coordinate across agencies helps us provide inclusive and supportive resources to victims and survivors, as well as significant opportunities to enhance intervention, prevention, and training. I am proud to be part of the City and this Administration’s commitment to ending gender-based and domestic violence.”

“Gender-based violence is a global crisis. Women and girls are disproportionately impacted. It is a crisis that transcends geographic boundaries, transcends any one culture, or ethnic group, or any one community,” said Nancy Abilal, CEO of the Arab American Family Support Center. “However, today marks a turning point, we are coming together as one—one people, one city, and acting in unison—to say enough is enough! The City of New York is leading the way in this global movement of resistance. It is no surprise—New York City is a global city. The Arab-American Family Support Center is honored to partner with the Mayor’s Office in ending domestic and gender-based violence.”
“The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault commends the Mayor and the Office to End Domestic and Gender-based Violence for putting resources towards this important and wide-spread issue,” said Mary Haviland, Executive Director of the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault. “We look forward to working together to prevent future assaults and help survivors of gender-based violence in New York City heal from their experience.”
Gender-based and domestic violence is a critical issue in New York City, despite occurrences being severely underreported. In 2017, there were over 282,000 Domestic Incident Reports (DIRs) filed with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and there were 8,260 sex offenses reported to the NYPD. Additionally, almost 1 in every 5 homicides and 2 in every 5 reported felony assaults are domestic violence related.

New Yorkers experiencing domestic or gender-based violence can call 311 or visit the Resource Portal online at NYC.gov/NYCHOPE to locate an NYC Family Justice Center and other local community resources. All FJCs are open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. No appointment is needed, and interpretation services are available at every location.

“For more than a decade, The Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence has been one of Sanctuary for Families’ strongest allies and partners.  Together, we and other partner organizations have worked to put thousands of domestic violence survivors and their families on the path to safety, security and success. Today’s announcement to expand this office to include services for victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and stalking, is yet more evidence of the de Blasio Administration’s deep commitment to solve the epidemic of gender violence,” said Judge Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families. “By breaking down these silos and unifying education, policy outreach and services, we will reach more women, children and men who are in desperate need of protection.  And, in the process, we will save more lives.”

“In our 40 years as an organization, we at Safe Horizon have seen first-hand how connected domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and human trafficking are. For example, a survivor of human trafficking may in fact be trafficked by her abusive partner. Too often survivors face multiple victimizations and it’s our collective responsibility as leaders and service providers to recognize these nuances when responding and offering expert support,” said Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang. “I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for signing an Executive Order to create the new Office to End Domestic and Gender-based Violence. It will go a long way in strengthening the city’s coordinated response to survivors of these crimes, and we look forward to working with this new office.”

“The Mayor’s Fund has been a long-time supporter of helping OCDV advance innovative and impactful work to end intimate partner violence and to support those effected," said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "From supporting the launch of the City’s dynamic Family Justice Centers, to creating Family Literacy Programs, which provides children and their parents, who are survivors of domestic violence, with a safe environment to develop their literacy skills and socialize with other families, we continue to be inspired by the interest and support from philanthropy and the private sector to support this work. As the Office now expands the scope of its important mandate the Mayor’s Fund stands ready to continue this tradition of fostering private-sector collaboration and support for the efforts.”

“As the agency that provides the largest network of domestic violence services in the country, the NYC Department of Social Services’ Human Resources Administration has a longstanding partnership with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence to effectively address the needs of domestic violence survivors,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.  “We commend the newly renamed Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-based Violence for expanding their scope of services to include survivors of sexual assault and trafficking and for their groundbreaking work to intervene and prevent these forms of violence in our City.” 

“The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will help even more New Yorkers get the resources they need to get out of a dangerous situation or prevent it from happening in the first place,” said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell. “ACS continues to work hard to prevent trafficking and domestic violence among youth and families that the agency serves, and we look forward to partnering with this expanded office to develop and strengthen services that address these issues. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Noel for making these very serious issues a top priority.”

“Today, the city renews and expands its commitment to serving all New Yorkers who experience domestic and gender-based violence and connecting them to the supports they need to live safely,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence's expanded mission will go a long way to address sexual assault, sex trafficking, and stalking. I thank Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for their expanded efforts, which offer solutions to those struggling to feel safe and secure.”

“The Office’s broadened scope of work will empower it to expand services for survivors of trafficking and find innovative ways to combat sexual assault, stalking, and other gender-based violence,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “We look forward to continuing our strategic partnership to help an incredibly vulnerable population heal and regain control of their lives.”

“The expansion of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will go beyond intimate partner violence to address other forms of abuse that affect many of our young people as well as their friends and family. DYCD is proud to work with ENDGBV and other City agencies on these very important issues to ensure that our youth develop healthy, respectful notions about gender, and that all persons can feel valued and safe,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

“Over the past decades, advocates, services providers and governments have learned a great deal about the breadth, complexity, and nuance of gender-based violence, and the many forms in which it appears.  We have also learned, and continue to learn, what it takes to effectively address this issue.  Today’s announcement of expanded services, and a new name for the city agency providing those services, underscores the de Blasio Administration’s unwavering commitment to develop and implement innovative and responsive services to meet the needs of survivors of gender-based violence. Girls, women, and transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers can rest assured that their safety, in private and public spaces, remains a top priority for this Administration,” said Jacqueline M. Ebanks, Executive Director, Commission on Gender Equity. 

“We all must think more creatively to better support survivors until we finally end all forms of gender-based violence. This injustice particularly harms vulnerable communities, including immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “I’m proud that the de Blasio Administration is taking this next step forward, and my office looks forward to continuing working with the First Lady, Deputy Mayor Palacio, and the expanded Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence on these issues."
“Gender-based violence is a pervasive issue impacting New Yorkers in sometimes subtle and unseen ways, preventing them from equal access to homes, jobs and the enjoyment of public spaces,” said NYC Human Rights Chair and Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis.“ Today's announcement demonstrates our City’s commitment to combat this violence by focusing extra efforts and resources seeking to identify outside-the-box strategies to effectively tackle early manifestations to the most dramatic cases of gender-based violence. I also want to reaffirm the Commission’s priority in this area and our strong commitment to partnering with the newly created Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence by continuing to dedicate policy, law enforcement, community and media outreach efforts to educate on, and enforce protections under, the NYC Human Rights Law based on gender.”

“The announcement of the expansion of OCDV serves as an example of the City’s resolute dedication to best serving the needs of all New Yorkers, including older adults,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado. “We look forward to working together with the new Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence to expand and strengthen services for victims of elder abuse.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Office to Combat Domestic Violence as they provide new and needed services,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray on the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence.  This new approach will strengthen services and increase focus on the intersection of criminal justice and social service responses to create lasting solutions and improved outcomes for those affected by domestic violence,” said Probation Commissioner Ana M. Bermudez.

“One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime.  The Mayor’s new Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, aimed to coordinate efforts across all levels of bureaucracy, promises to enhance response and intervention for survivors.  A heartbreaking reality in New York City is that in 2017, there were over 34,000 reports of domestic violence, nearly 10,000 of which are violations of a protective order.  I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio for the enactment of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. With a coordinated response, we can work together to strengthen protections for survivors of domestic violence who are seeking to reclaim their lives,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright, Member of the Boards of Directors of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“The expansion of this office is an important acknowledgement for all of the New Yorkers who have been the victims of gender-based violence. No person should have to suffer from these crimes, whether it is intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, and this office will help prevent and stop these terrible crimes while providing important resources to victims as well. I want to thank the Mayor, First Lady, and the administration for the expansion of this office’s mission, and I and my fellow colleagues in the Council’s Women’s Caucus are ready to work with the new Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence to create new solutions that will make a difference in the fight against gender-based violence in the Five Boroughs,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the New York City Council’s Women’s Caucus.

"The creation of the Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence affirms our City's commitment to moving the needle in the work to end gender-based violence and keep all New Yorkers safe," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Co-Chair of the New York City Council Women's Caucus. "This office will not only build on the groundbreaking reforms secured by the passage of the Stop Sexual Harassment Act by enhancing the City's capacity to provide services to survivors. It will also shape our national dialogue on gender equity by advancing innovative policies and dismantling the barriers that have kept too many women from coming forward and seeking help. I thank all the survivors who bravely shared their stories in pursuit of a world where no one is silenced from seeking justice, and look forward to continuing this momentum with First Lady McCray and my colleagues and allies in City Council."

“By enacting the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, New York City is expanding its scope, reach, and capabilities to protect every New Yorker. Building on the tremendous work of First Lady Chirlane McCray and Commissioner Cecile Noel to combat domestic violence through increased services and support, safe spaces for victims, and the removal of barriers to leaving abusive situations, this expanded office will be even more of a champion for human rights. I’m grateful for these partners in government, and look forward to working with them to combat intimate partner and gender-based violence across our city,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women.

“I commend Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio for creating the Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. This new office will expand services for survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and trafficking by offering comprehensive intervention, outreach, and support,” said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Committee on Social Services.

“Domestic violence is one the top recorded police calls within the United States as it pertains to gender-based violence. Although we have certain programs in place to prevent this issue, we must do more to see that victims of domestic violence obtain justice and the victimizer are held to account to the full extent of the law. With the new mandate in place, it will do just that. These comprehensive services are a necessity to ensuring the safety of families and the entire community at large,” said Assemblywoman Maritza Davila.

“I am thrilled that the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence is expanding to include Gender-Based Violence, and address the needs of survivors of sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, among other issues. The #MeToo movement has shined a light on the abuse and harassment that many women are all too familiar with. We must work to create cultural and societal change to ensure that mistreatment of women isn’t accepted – and the expansion of this office is a great step. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, and Deputy Mayor Dr. Palacio for their commitment to spreading awareness about these issues, providing funding for crucial programming for survivors, and for creating policies to protect New Yorkers – especially women and children,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon.

“The creation of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) is a monumental step in the battle against intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, who sits on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council. “I am particularly impressed with the creation of the Advisory Committee, chaired by the ENDGBV, which will review individual case level data of gender-based and domestic violence fatalities. This committee is the first of its kind and is yet another example of how seriously this administration takes the scourge of domestic and gender-based violence. I want to congratulate the First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Dr. Herminia Palacio for their efforts to make the ENDGBV a reality. I applaud the Office’s mandate to tackle gender-based and domestic violence-based issues at a citywide and agency-wide level. As a victim of domestic violence myself, I understand how complex this problem is and applaud the First Lady, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Deputy Mayor Palacio for approaching the issue with the depth it deserves.”

“I applaud City Hall for its commitment to battling the horrendous problem of domestic and gender-based violence and for creating an office that has the resources and the teeth to fight the battle on many fronts,” said Assembly Member Aravella Simotas.

"Gender-based violence is unacceptable and we need to address it through social programs, as well as having the tough conversations in our families and communities. The cycle of abuse needs to be broken. I commend Mayor de Blasio for taking steps to prevent gender-based, domestic, and intimate partner violence, and I will work with him, and my colleagues in local and state government to think critically and implement programs that help us help our friends, family and neighbors working to stop this cycle forever,” said Senator Roxanne Persaud.

“The Bronx District Attorney’s Office stands ready with our partners in the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence as it expands survivors’ services and resources to address the scope of debasing and dehumanizing crimes. We have been on the forefront of innovation in fighting domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and look forward to coordinating with the newly-named office in its broader purpose,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “This expansion is a testament to the City’s commitment to keeping all victims of domestic and gender-based violence safe by working to prevent violence, offering interventions and providing services. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Herminia Palacio and Commissioner Cecile Noel for leading the way in this significant work. It is critical to raising awareness around these important issues,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

“I applaud the Mayor’s Office for launching the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, expanding on the successes of the OCDV. With the Office’s expansion, New York City will continue to lead the nation on responses to domestic violence with innovative and inclusive approaches to address intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and stalking. Domestic and gender-based violence are public health crises that affect all communities and threaten our City's most vulnerable. I thank Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, Deputy Mayor Palacio, and Commissioner Noel for their ongoing collaboration to support and empower survivors,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

“All violent acts against an individual do have some common threads. Domestic and gender-based violence, however, have specific roots and consequences unique to this type of crime. I applaud the Mayor’s office for focusing on the singularities of these crimes and expanding the city’s efforts to prevent these acts and to assist the unfortunate victims of these crimes,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

“I deeply commend the efforts of First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio in the creation of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, which is an expansion of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. With Gender-based violence cases remaining at high levels throughout our city, it is now more important than ever that we come together in a unified effort to reduce the instances of these traumatic cases. By enhancing outreach efforts and strategic responses to cases of gender-based violence, we strengthen our intervention and prevention efforts on intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. Once again, I thank our First Lady and Mayor Bill De Blasio and I look forward to working with our city partners to ENDGBV,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“As a member of the Commission on Gender Equity, I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Dr. Palacio, for working to enact the new Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “This new office will holistically study and address all forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, and violence against transgender people. I look forward to future collaboration and supporting the comprehensive policy measures that will result from this expansion.”

“While we have made great strides in recent years to expand resources to combat domestic violence, including the opening of our own Family Justice Center in St. George, rates of domestic violence citywide and in Staten Island remain unconscionably high, and this is part of an even larger public health and safety crisis. By transforming the name and mission of this office, our city sends a message that we are committed to providing a continuum of resources to combat all forms of domestic and gender-based violence, including human trafficking. I thank the mayor, First Lady and Commissioner Noel for recognizing the scope of this issue and for committing resources to protect all New Yorkers from domestic and gender-based violence,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose.

“Every day, the prosecutors in my office work closely with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence at the Family Justice Center on Staten Island, helping survivors to cope and to find resources while working tirelessly to hold their abusers accountable. I commend OCDV and Commissioner Noel for taking the important step to expand the services available to all victims of abuse,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “It is essential that we address the issue of domestic violence in all its forms, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, human trafficking and stalking. Today’s Executive Order accomplishes that and more, and will greatly help law enforcement in our mission to end domestic violence.”

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