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

Date: December 20, 1999

Seal of the Unified Court System
Courts Expand Services to Victims of Domestic Violence
NEW YORK - - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman announced today a new program to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence in the Bronx and Manhattan Family Courts.

Under the program, spearheaded by First Department Appellate Division Presiding Justice Betty Weinberg Ellerin, the Unified Court System, in partnership with Victim Services, will assign trained counselors to the intake unit of the Bronx and Manhattan Family Courts to assist domestic violence victims in obtaining protective orders, and in accessing social and health services. Victims of domestic violence will be offered links to law enforcement and safety planning along with advice on court procedures, service of process and custody matters. The counselors will link victims to a comprehensive array of resources, including emergency shelter, long term housing, financial services, and health care. A primary objective of the program is to increase the return rate for domestic violence victims who come to court seeking an order of protection. Currently many victims who petition the court for a temporary order of protection fail to return to court to obtain a permanent order.

Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman said, "Victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable people who come to the courts. It is essential that we provide the support and services these victims need to ensure that they are able to return to court and obtain the relief they seek. I applaud Justice Weinberg Ellerin for bringing this important service to Manhattan and the Bronx. Our new project builds on a highly successful program piloted by Presiding Justice Guy Mangano and Victim Services in the Brooklyn Family Court, which has improved return rates for victims seeking orders of protection to approximately 80 percent." 

Web page updated: August 16, 2006