Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: August 10, 2000

Seal of the Unified Court System
Court System Adopts Domestic Violence Policy for Employees
NEW YORK - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced that the Unified Court System has adopted a domestic violence employee awareness and assistance policy, stemming from the recommendations of a state domestic violence advisory committee. The policy seeks to address workplace-related safety issues for victimized employees, increase employee awareness of domestic violence and information about available sources of assistance, and prevent discrimination against victims of domestic violence.

The Advisory Council to the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), chaired by Charlotte A. Watson, the Executive Director of OPDV, developed a model domestic violence policy to be tailored for use by governmental agencies statewide - an initiative headed by Governor George E. Pataki. The court system's efforts to adopt a comprehensive domestic violence policy were spearheaded by the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, chaired by former Presiding Justice Betty Weinberg Ellerin of the Appellate Division, First Department.

Judge Lippman said, "Domestic violence affects the lives of people in all segments of society, often with tragic consequences. Under the leadership of Chief Judge Kaye and the outstanding contributions of the Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, the New York state court system has adopted a new policy to assist employees who are victims of domestic violence and to help others become more informed about these issues. I would like to thank the Governor, Charlotte Watson and members of the Advisory Council from all branches of State government for developing a model domestic violence policy, upon which the court system's efforts are based."

The court system's new domestic violence policy includes guidelines to:

  • Increase awareness of domestic violence and inform employees of available sources of assistance
  • Ensure that personnel policies and procedures do not discriminate against victims and are responsive to their needs
  • Establish workplace safety response plans
  • Hold accountable employees who are offenders
  • Ensure that employees convicted of domestic violence or subject to an order of protection not have access to firearms

  • Make training on domestic violence available regularly for management, human resources and security personnel