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Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Mccray and Commissioner Pierre-Louis Host 2nd Annual Upstander Awards

October 13, 2015

Through UpStander campaign, Mayor’s Office calls on all New Yorkers to take a stand against domestic violence, build on awareness efforts that have contributed to decline of citywide domestic violence rates

City will honor five UpStanders: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon & Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain, Univision and El Diario La Prensa

NEW YORK— Today Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rosemonde Pierre-Louis hosted the City’s 2nd annual UpStander Awards at Harlem Hospital Center to honor five individuals and institutions recognized for their work combatting domestic violence. The UpStander Awards salute everyday New Yorkers who, along with the administration, have taken an active role in helping the City to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“Domestic violence does not discriminate: it can occur in any community and in any home. Our mission is to ensure victims know they never have to suffer in silence. Tonight we thank five individuals and institutions who do some of the most critical and inspiring work in our city – they speak out against domestic violence. These UpStanders remind us all of what it means to be brave, compassionate and strong pillars of our communities by sending a simple, essential message to their neighbors: you are not alone and we are here to help,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Domestic violence occurs in every neighborhood in New York City and affects every community, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. Awareness is the greatest tool to combat domestic violence, which is why OCDV encourages all New Yorkers to understand that they can play a role in ending intimate partner violence, whether by knowing about available resources, speaking out against violent behavior, or supporting a friend in an abusive relationship. 

OCDV is the City government’s hub for citywide delivery of domestic violence services, development of policies and programs, and work with diverse communities in the five boroughs to increase awareness. Through a robust outreach effort, OCDV is able to connect victims to critical services through the City’s Family Justice Centers and other key resources. Family Justice Centers are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens with a fifth center opening in Staten Island in early 2016. In 2014, there were over 54,000 client visits to the Family Justice Centers throughout New York City.

Since January 2014, OCDV has engaged in over 2,400 outreach events, and this year we have participated in over 1,400 events – a 600 percent increase from 2013, which has helped connect more victims than ever to the services and resources they need, especially the City’s Family Justice Centers. Intimate-partner homicides declined 27 percent in 2014 and so far in 2015 domestic violence-related assaults have decreased by over 6 percent. Today New York City has the lowest rate of domestic violence-related homicides of the ten largest cities in the United States. The UpStander Awards remind New Yorkers that everyone plays a role in ending domestic violence. From global leaders to local media, all of the honorees are taking a stand against domestic violence in New York City.

This year’s Upstander award ceremony has been sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, with a contribution of $25,000.

To become an UpStander against domestic violence, the City encourages New Yorkers to:

  • Recognize and speak out against intimate partner violence, gender injustice and all forms of abuse.
  • Offer unconditional support to someone who has experienced violence.
  • Speak up against statements that promote violence.
  • Get help from an expert, advocate, or other professional.
  • Help share resources with those who need help: NYC DV Hotline 1-800-621-4673; 911 in emergencies; for information and connection to services, call 212-788-3156 and ask for OCDV’s Family Justice Centers.

“No one should live in shame, silence or fear. Everyone has a part to play in ending domestic violence and abuse. And we can all do something to help – provide a listening ear, ask a question or leave a note with instructions to the nearest Family Justice Center. Together, we can give hope to those who suffer by making clear they are not alone and help is available,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “I’m honored to recognize New Yorkers who stand strong against domestic violence. New Yorkers like those we’re honoring tonight provide an example that we can all follow to a world free from domestic violence.”

“I applaud tonight’s honorees for their work to bring an end to domestic violence, said Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rosemonde Pierre-Louis. “Tonight we honor five New York City UpStanders—individuals and institutions that have gone above and beyond to shine a light on the issue of domestic violence and to be invaluable change-makers for victims. Each of our honorees has been a crucial ally to the people of New York City as we seek to end domestic violence and strengthen the safety net for victims and their children.”

"Domestic violence sadly remains a problem in New York City in the year 2015," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "By confronting the issue and spreading awareness about the prevalence of domestic violence throughout all communities, we can begin to address the problem. I'd like to thank and congratulate this year’s UpStanders for their work and courage in combatting domestic violence."

“By discussing the issue openly, we can reduce the stigma attached to domestic violence and encourage anyone suffering from domestic abuse to seek out the help and support they truly deserve. I thank these UpStanders for their service to the community and encourage all New Yorkers to follow their example. We all play a part in ending this terrible epidemic and I am particularly thankful to First Lady Chirlane McCray, Commissioner Rosemond Pierre-Louis of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence and the NYPD for their partnership in our City’s ongoing efforts to bring end to domestic violence,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety.

The five honorees at the award ceremony include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek; Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain, Consul General of Mexico in New York; Univision; and El Diario La Prensa.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made empowering women one of his priorities, and he strongly advocated for the creation of UN Women, a new agency that consolidated the UN's work in this area. City of New York First Lady Chirlane McCray recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UN Women.

Mrs. Ban Soon-taek has helped to advance women's rights and to launch the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)/Avon Products public/private partnership model which has a goal of promoting women's empowerment and ending violence against women.

Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain, Consul General of Mexico in New York filmed the Office to Combat Domestic Violence’s UpStander PSA in Spanish earlier this year, along with members from the Coalition of Latin American Consuls in New York. The Spanish-language UpStander PSA ran in Consulates around the City and on social media to raise awareness for their nationals about domestic violence services in NYC.

El Diario La Prensa and Univision, earlier this year dedicated a week of television segments and print articles to topics related to domestic violence. The Spanish-language PSA spearheaded by Ambassador Fuentes was premiered by Univision during this week-long focus. El Diario and Univision are being recognized for their unparalleled coverage on providing information about resources for Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Last year the UpStander Campaign was launched to inspire New Yorkers to move from being bystanders to domestic violence to being UpStanders, focusing on the idea that everyone plays a role in preventing intimate partner violence. The first-ever UpStander Awards coincided with the release of the City’s first UpStander Public Service Announcement, which premiered during the event. This video featured City leadership talking about what an UpStander is and calling on all New Yorkers to join the UpStander movement. This campaign was featured in taxi cabs, online, and is one component of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness and bring an end to domestic violence in New York City.

Family Justice Centers are walk-in Centers that provide free and confidential assistance to victims of intimate partner violence, sex trafficking and elder abuse, regardless of income, language, immigration status, gender identify or sexual orientation. On-site services provided by community partners include: case management, risk assessment, safety planning, family law and immigration legal services, counseling for adults and children, self-sufficiency and economic empowerment classes and programming, NYPD Domestic Violence Prevention Officers (DVPOs) and Assistant District Attorneys from the District Attorney’s Office.

For more information on services offered through the City’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, call 212-788-3156 or visit the website at

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