WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that will better protect sexual assault victims by strengthening current laws.
The new legislation extends the order of protection for a victim through the end of the defendant's probation term. Previously, orders of protection often expired while an offender was out of jail but remained on probation.
This law 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.
“I know that we can agree that acts of domestic violence and discrimination have no place in our society," said Assemblyman Harry Bronson, author of the legislation. "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.”
Cuomo also signed legislation 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 the person's safety is at risk. This bill gives courts broad powers to consider a waiver application and makes clear its discretion is not limited to a direct threat against a person's safety.