September 22, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Strengthening Protections For Victims of Sexual Assault

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Strengthening Protections For Victims of Sexual Assault

Also Signs Legislation to Protect the Personal Safety of Those who Legally Change Their Name

Governor Cuomo signed legislation strengthening protections for victims of sexual assault. This ensures that, in cases where the defendant is convicted of sexually assaulting a family member, the order of protection for the victim extends at least through the end of the defendant's probation term.

“This measure closes a potentially dangerous loophole and will help ensure that victims receive the protections that they deserve,” Governor Cuomo said. “I'm proud to sign this common-sense legislation into law and I thank its sponsors for their work on this very important issue."

Previously, orders of protection often expired while an offender was out of jail but remained on probation.

This bill, (A.1797-A / S.4340-B), requires a 10-year order of protection in cases ‎where a felony sexual assault conviction involving a family member includes probation. In the event of a misdemeanor charge, a six-year order of protection is required. Both terms match the maximum terms of probation orders under these offenses.

Senator Sue Serino said, “Too often victims of sexual assault choose not to report crimes against them for fear of retaliation and an inherent distrust in a system that can leave them vulnerable to repeat offense. We have a responsibility to ensure that the law offers them the highest level of protection and I thank the Governor and my colleagues—especially Assemblywoman Amy Paulin—for making this issue a priority.”

Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “This legislation corrects the inconsistency in the law and will provide the victim with greater protection from her attacker. If the order of protection runs out prior to the end of the probationary period the safety and welfare of the victim is at serious risk.”

The Governor also signed legislation (S.5240 / A.2242) that will help protect the personal safety of those that legally change their name. By law, any name change must be published in a designated newspaper, however, in certain circumstances waivers can be issued if safety is at risk. This bill gives courts broad powers to consider a waiver application and makes clear that their discretion is not limited to a direct threat against a person's safety.

Senator Diane Savino said, “Any New Yorker that chooses to legally change their name should not be subject to extra harassment or danger as a result. This bill makes clear that courts must consider the total circumstances surrounding the name change when deciding whether to grant a publication waiver. I am proud to have been a sponsor of this bill and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it today.”

Assemblyman Harry Bronson, author of the legislation, said, “I know that we can agree that acts of domestic violence and discrimination have no place in our society. We must protect victims of domestic violence and transgender individuals who may be at risk of such deplorable acts. The protections afforded in this bill are vital to ensuring the personal safety of many of our fellow New Yorkers. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important civil rights protection and the many advocates across the state who helped make it possible.”

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418