DA records: 49 people killed in domestic violence homicides on LI since 2019
Advocates for domestic violence victims said Nassau and Suffolk counties serve as models to the rest of the state because of their existing policies for handling incidents of domestic violence. However, the number of victims is rising across Long Island.
Team 12 Investigates obtained data from both district attorneys’ offices in Suffolk and Nassau counties. Since 2019, 49 people have been killed in domestic violence homicides on Long Island—including seven this year.
Nine people died from domestic violence last year, including three in Nassau County and six in Suffolk County. The seven deaths so far this year all occurred in Suffolk County.
Team 12 Investigates also reviewed statistics from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and combed through the numbers of reported domestic violence-related assaults, sex offenses and order of protection violations.
In Nassau County, the number of reported domestic violence victims rose during the pandemic in 2020 and that trend has only continued. There were almost 4,500 domestic violence victims reported in 2022, the county’s highest number on record since DCJS started keeping track in 2012.
Suffolk County saw a slight drop in the number of reported domestic violence victims in 2021, but the numbers jumped back up in 2022. More than 5,000 victims were reported that year, which exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
The numbers include victims of intimate partner violence and violence between relatives.
For the first time in more than a decade, New York has released new guidelines for how law enforcement agencies should respond to incidents of domestic violence.
The Law Enforcement Domestic Incident Model Policy, which the state first issued in 2010, outlines best practices and procedures for officers when responding to a call for domestic violence. It provides guidance on how to preserve evidence of a crime, connect individuals with services and promote the safety of victims and responding officers.
"I'm committed to leading an administration that treats survivors with dignity and respect," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “This is personal to me. My mother was a lifelong advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and our family founded a transitional home for survivors in Western New York. These actions build on my administration's ongoing commitment to help survivors and provide them with the resources, support and information they need to recover and rebuild."
The primary goal of the state’s new guidelines is to ensure survivors of domestic violence have access to financial services and other resources they need to get out of dangerous situations.
“It takes an incredible amount of courage for someone in an abusive relationship to seek help from the police,” said Elizabeth Cronin, director of the NYS Office for Victim Services. “Once they take that step, even making that call can cause a dangerous situation to escalate, so it’s critically important that police officers have the best information, training, and skills when they respond.”
The new policy addresses the increased understanding of the effects of trauma and the potential for fatal outcomes when responding to these incidents. The state’s Municipal Police Training Council adopted the policy after working with experts in policing, domestic violence prevention and response, and law enforcement training.
“Domestic incidents are among the most common and serious calls agencies receive,” said Rossana Rosado, DCJS Commissioner. “This comprehensive model policy is designed to provide responding officers with the information, tools, and resources they need to effectively handle these cases.”
Gov. Hochul also announced $1 million in funding to expand the use of the state’s Red Flag Law. The law, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, aims to prevent people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others from buying or possessing any type of firearm. An ERPO requires the person to surrender any guns they own and directs police to search a person, premises, or a vehicle for guns.
The funding will be used to train community-based organizations on ways to help people navigate the court system and file an ERPO application. A district attorney, police officer, school official, or member of the respondent’s family or household can file an ERPO application.
New York state's Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline is available 24/7 by phone (800-942-6906), text (844-997-2121) or online chat.
The Office of Victim Services funds and supports 239 victim assistance programs across the state that provide essential services, such as crisis counseling, emergency shelter and civil legal help. The agency also provides a critical financial safety net for individuals who have no other resources to pay for expenses they incurred because of the crime