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Government & Politics

County Legislature Adds Protections For Victims Of Domestic Violence

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June 18, 2024

By Barrett Seaman–

What prompted Irvington resident David Imamura to begin work on his first sponsored bill as a freshman County Legislator was a chilling report of a New Jersey woman who obtained a court-ordered temporary restraining order against her abusive husband but nonetheless ended up dead along with her children.

As Imamura retold the story at a signing ceremony for the county’s new Safety Measures for Survivors of Domestic Violence Act, the woman’s landlord ignored her plea to change the locks on her apartment, not once but on five different occasions. When her abusive husband came after her, he was able to unlock the door with ease, enter the apartment and stab her and their children to death.

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“The highest calling of any elected official is to help the people who cannot help themselves,” Imamura said at the ceremony, surrounded by fellow legislators who had passed the bill unanimously, “and I can think of few populations more in need of help than domestic violence victims.”

The program is estimated to cost the county around $50,000-a-year.

Imamura quoted one study that estimated that 40% of people housed in city shelters were there to escape violence at home. “This bill is about safety,” Imamura said. –the ability to feel safe in their own home and for their children to feel safe where they’ve grown up.”

The bill was modeled in part on a New York City law that mandates that locks be changed to protect victims of abuse, but it goes further by requiring motion-activated “ring cameras,” adding an additional security step. The bill was co-sponsored by Emiljana Ulaj, who represents Cortlandt, Croton, Ossining, Briarcliff and Buchanan and was formulated with the help of the county’s Office for Women and the Pace University Women’s Justice Center.

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