"We must do all we can to protect domestic violence victims, ensure they have access to the resources that they need, and help law enforcement bring abusers to justice," Governor Cuomo said. "The wide range of information collected by this redesigned report will play a vital role in holding these offenders accountable and providing victims with the support they need to break this cycle of violence."
New York State last redesigned the Domestic Incident Report, which police have been required to use for more than two decades, in 2011. The latest revisions eliminate duplication and provide more space for narrative details, victim interview information and statements from witnesses and/or suspects. The redesign also allows officers to more accurately document factors that put victims at risk, a victim's emotional state and any prior history of domestic violence – all of which are crucial to assessing the physical danger a victim is facing.
Additionally, the updated report allows officers to better detail evidence at a scene that can aid in prosecution if an arrest is made. For example, officers can now document information about the crime of strangulation, a common form of domestic violence that can be difficult to prove because often there are no visible physical injuries to a victim. Yes/No questions with corresponding check boxes will also improve the accuracy of data collection.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services and the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence coordinated the redesign, relying on input from police, prosecutors, victim advocates, civil legal service providers, probation and parole officers to ensure the report would be easy and effective to use. Once redesign was complete, the Albany and Schenectady police departments began using the report earlier this year to ensure it was effective in the field.
Police agencies across the state will begin using the revised report this month. The Division of Criminal Justice Services is offering an online training that provides an overview of the revised report and how it should be completed. About 2,000 officers have taken the course to date.