ALBANY, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced new state guidance for law enforcement responding to domestic incidents. Hochul also announced signing two new laws regarding domestic violence prevention and securing $1 million to expand the Red Flag Law.

The new Law Enforcement Domestic Incident Model Policy focuses on promoting safety for domestic violence victims and law enforcement officers, connecting victims to services and support, and preserving evidence of a crime. The policy addresses changes in law enforcement practices, updates to state laws, and ways for law enforcement responses to be more survivor-centered.

The guidance suggests changes to police practices at both the local police and county sheriffs’ level, including:

  • Assessing the potential lethality of a victim by asking questions about access to firearms or threats to harm themselves and others. Then law enforcement can assess the next steps.
  • Determining if it is necessary to obtain an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) and their responsibilities under the law
  • Using the individual’s own words when documenting the incident
  • Notifying individuals about the availability of legal services to obtain orders of protection and other legal matters
  • Understanding the hesitancy of individuals to come forward on incidents, among others.

Along with the new guidance, Hochul also signed two new pieces of legislation into law. The first — known as the “HOPE Card Act,” directs the State Office of Court Administration to develop a program to issue cards to individuals that contain information about final orders of protection. According to the governor, the act will allow survivors of domestic violence to enforce their orders of protection without carrying an official copy. New York is the sixth state to enact such a program.

The second act signed into law requires the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to distribute informational materials on economic abuse. Informational materials will include connections to housing resources, local social services offices, and other information to help individuals maintain safety and economic stability.

The governor also announced that she has secured $1 million to expand the use of the Red Flag Laws. The investment would fund training and technical assistance to community-based organizations to help potential petitioners identify extreme behavior and navigate the court process to further increase the use of the law.