October 25, 2016
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Erin Duggan
Cy Vance for Manhattan DA
(646) 248-4370

Vance’s Agenda a Strong Plan for Addressing Public Health Crisis of Violence Against Women

NEW YORK, NY – Renowned feminist and women’s rights leader Gloria Steinem today endorsed Manhattan District Attorney candidate Cy Vance, as he unveiled his comprehensive Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women, Children and Intimate Partners. Vance called domestic violence a public health crisis, given its widespread affect on communities, businesses and the health care and criminal justice systems. Vance’s plan addresses four major components of violence against women that he will target as Manhattan District Attorney: domestic violence, rape, sex trafficking and stalking.

“New York is the safest major city in this country in every area but one, and that's domestic violence,” Steinem said. “By declaring it a public health crisis and creating a practical action plan to address it -- including a Family Justice Center in Manhattan -- Cy Vance has earned our support. The presence of two other good candidates in this race should not keep us from supporting one who stands out for his insight and leadership in an area that disproportionately affects women and children, and that also normalizes violence outside the family. That's why I am supporting Cy Vance for Manhattan District Attorney.” 

Steinem is another prominent leader voicing support for Vance, in addition to former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, Caroline Kennedy, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter and former prosecutor and author Linda Fairstein. Last week Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who has worked with all three candidates, said Vance is “the best qualified by his experience and his views” to take over as District Attorney.

“I could not be more proud to have the endorsement of Gloria Steinem – an American icon, a historic leader for women’s rights, and a great New York City Democrat,” said Vance. “She is a true hero in the fight for justice, and her support is inspiring. It is significant that she could be here today as I lay out my plan to combat violence against women, including domestic violence, rape, stalking and sex trafficking. Addressing this complex issue will not just be a priority, it is at the core of what I will do as Manhattan District Attorney. I will use the full resources of the office to fight these horrific crimes.”

Vance is no stranger to domestic violence cases. As an Assistant District Attorney, he prosecuted the murderer of a Washington Heights woman who left an abusive relationship. Undeterred by her efforts to prevent him from contacting her, her abuser tracked her down at her job at Smith Barney, and shot and killed the woman and a man coming to her aid.

“Although her killer was found guilty in the double murder, I never stopped wondering what we could have done to have prevented the crime from happening in the first place,” said Vance.

Violence against women is a public health crisis. Last year, the NYPD responded to more than 230,000 domestic violence incidents – more than 600 incidents each day. In Manhattan, these cases occur disproportionately in Northern Manhattan. Nationally, domestic violence costs American businesses between $3 to $5 billion each year in medical expenses, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. Those businesses lose an additional $100 million a year due to missed days of work. And according to New York City Department of Health, nearly half of all fatal acts of violence against women in New York City between 2003 and 2005 were confirmed to be the result of intimate partner violence. The Department’s 2008 report found that women in low-income neighborhoods are at highest risk of domestic violence, and reports of dating violence are rising among New York City teens.

Vance’s Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women, Children and Intimate Partners includes:
  • The Establishment of a Family Justice Center in Northern Manhattan. The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence has opened “Family Justice Centers” in Brooklyn and Queens, located near or in local DA’s offices. They have served many thousands of victims and their children by bringing essential services into one place. The Centers reflect Vance’s philosophy of using integrated services to make the justice system more accessible. The Centers provide a wide spectrum of services for the victim, including: meeting with a prosecutor, filing a police report, civil legal services, counseling for victims and children, safety planning, self-sufficiency programs, support groups, English as a Second Language classes, interpreters, and services for the elderly and disabled. Vance will work to establish one in Northern Manhattan where a disproportionate number of the county’s domestic violence cases are reported. 
  • Increased Sentences for Repeat Offenders. Research has established that perpetrators of intimate partner violence often escalate the intensity of their violent acts, and once they engage in violence, even at the misdemeanor level, that behavior becomes repetitive. Vance will work with state lawmakers to create legislation that allows the DA’s Office to seek felony treatment of repeat offenders, even if each individual act qualifies currently as a misdemeanor.
  • Improved Prosecution of Intimate Partner Violence Involving LGBT Couples. The attention on domestic violence has predominately been paid to heterosexual couples, but intimate partner violence also affects the LGBT community. The District Attorney must ensure that the Office has staff trained to handle the specific issues that can arise in these cases, whether from the victim’s side or in the courtroom.
  • Improve the Prosecution of Acquaintance Rape Cases.Acquaintance rape cases present challenges that differ from those encountered in stranger rape cases. In many instances, the criminal justice system has frequently not devoted the necessary resources for effective investigation and prosecution of acquaintance rape. This sometimes results in lower bail, lower plea offers, and shorter sentences in these cases. To address these problems we will:

    • Enhance training of prosecutors and police in acquaintance rape cases. The DA’s office will work in conjunction with the police department to train police, investigators and prosecutors in strategies that are tailored specifically to acquaintance rape cases.
    • Increase attention by law enforcement to the importance of a timely and detailed interview of the suspect. We will make certain that an attempt is made to obtain a statement from any suspect, as close in time to the reported incident as possible.
    • Increase investigative resources. We will dedicate resources to these cases at a level comparable to other highest priority cases.
“Everyone in the District Attorney’s Office and in Manhattan must know that I am fully committed to the reduction of all forms of violence against women and their children, and will dedicate the DA’s Office and its resources to this mission,” said Vance. “I will repeat that commitment forcefully and consistently during my tenure as Manhattan DA. There will never be a doubt that the Office’s fight against violence in this City has, at its core, a battle against the prevalent and destructive reality of violence against women.”

Vance has also litigated on behalf of women fighting gender discrimination. Vance and his law partners won a landmark class action lawsuit against Boeing Corporation for pay and promotion gender discrimination. In addition to winning a substantial financial settlement for the women employees of the company, the suit changed the way Boeing treats its women employees. As District Attorney, Vance will continue his commitment to issues of violence and discrimination against women.







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