Survivors and victims of domestic violence in New York will have new protections against discrimination under a law approved Friday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The measure is meant to tighten anti-discrimination provisions for victims, including in areas like housing and public accommodations. The proposal had initially been part of Hochul's 2022 State of the State agenda unveiled earlier this year.
Hochul pointed to the rise in domestic violence cases over the last two years following the onset of the pandemic.
"The pandemic has led to a heartbreaking increase in domestic and gender-based violence, and New York must stand strong to protect survivors," Hochul said. "Ever since I helped my mother open a home for survivors of domestic violence, I've made it a personal priority to do everything in my power to stand with and support survivors. I'm proud to sign this legislation, a critically important step to ensure survivors can safely access the services they need without fear of discrimination or retaliation."
New York's Human Rights Law will be expanded as part of the new law, while access to the Division of Human Rights complaint process for domestic violence victims will be improved as well to include housing, education and public accommodations. The law previously covered domestic violence victims only as a protected class under employment provisions of the Human Rights.
"Discrimination against victims and survivors of domestic violence compounds the barriers they already face in recovering and rebuilding their lives," said Sen. Roxanne Persaud, who sponsored the bill with Assemblymember Nikki Luccas.