Changes in laws benefit abuse victims

"The penal code dictates very clearly what's considered a crime and what's not considered a crime," she said.

Vera House posted on its Web site, verahouse.org, the 2009 Report to the Community on domestic and sexual violence in Onondaga County. Below include some of the most recent New York State Legislative changes:

Omnibus Domestic Violence Bill (various dates of effectiveness):

Expands Family Offenses to include some low-level sexual assault crimes

Requires a Family Court Judge to state on the record how domestic violence and/or child abuse factored into custody decisions.

Strengthens domestic violence training for law guardians.

Employment Discrimination (effective July 2009)

Prevents an employer from firing or refusing to hire an individual based on his/her status as a victim of domestic violence.

New York State Colleges Address Domestic Violence/Stalking (effective April 2009)

Requires NYS colleges to provide students with information on prevention, laws and the college's response to any incidents or offenses, including assistance for victims about domestic violence and stalking.

To read the report in full, visit verahouse.org, click on Coalition. The drop down box will lead you to the Annual Report to the Community.

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