FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27
A LOOK BACK
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letters & comments
Help courts stop
BY CITY COUNCILMAN RORY LANCMAN
Every act of domestic violence has ripple eff ects across
our City. It leads to homelessness, hospital visits, police
interventions, lost jobs, and signifi cant mental health
impacts on both children and families.
Sadly, domestic violence in recent years has remained
stubbornly immune to New York City’s generally falling
crime rates. In 2016, the NYPD responded to 91,600 intimate
partner-related domestic violence calls, a staggering
increase of 22.6% from the previous year. Domestic
violence is currently the leading cause of homelessness in
the City, now responsible for 30% of all homeless families
Th ese troubling statistics beg the question: how can
the city’s legal system best provide resources to victims
and families, all while ensuring that perpetrators are held
To examine that question, last week I convened a
Courts & Legal Services Committee oversight hearing to
analyze the operations of New York’s Criminal Domestic
Violence (DV) Courts and Integrated Domestic Violence
(IDV) Courts. Th ese specialty courts have been in operation
for years now, and are specifi cally designed to handle
these delicate cases.
DV Courts take on cases involving incidents between
intimate partners and family members, and are staff ed
by personnel, including a judge, victims advocates and
resource coordinators, who are trained to manage domestic
violence cases. All fi ve boroughs have at least one
Criminal DV court, with two operating specialized felony
Th e more recent development of IDV Courts, now
operating in all fi ve boroughs, have enabled Courts to better
coordinate and manage the litany of aspects that could
arise in a domestic violence case. By utilizing a “one family
- one judge” model, a single judge is able to preside over
multiple cases involving the same family, including criminal,
civil, custody, and more, thereby reducing the number
of hearings families must attend and improving the
effi ciency with which services can be administered.
What we set out to uncover in the hearing was how
eff ective these Courts are in achieving their mission, and
what additional resources, if any, should be provided by
the City to improve their functions. Th e Committee heard
testimony from a wide range of stakeholders: an IDV
Court Judge, the Mayor’s Offi ce to Combat Domestic
Violence, legal services providers, and victim’s advocates.
Th anks to their testimony, what’s clear is that these
Courts are a valuable resource that can be improved.
Additional services, particularly supervised visitation, are
needed for both DV and IDV Courts, especially in the
most serious felony cases. It makes little sense for limited
services to be off ered in the cases that are most challenging.
We have a responsibility to ensure that the resources
and services provided by DV and IDV Courts are readily
available and high quality.
It was also evident that the focus of Domestic Violence
Courts needs to center on actually solving problems, similar
to the focus of other specialty courts in the city. It is
not enough to just move people through the system--the
goal must be to address the root cause of the problems
and help make our families and communities stronger.
Last week’s hearing was just the fi rst step to improving
our Domestic Violence Courts. I look forward to working
with advocates, representatives from the legal community,
and others to make our Domestic Violence Courts as
eff ective as possible.
City Councilman Rory Lancman represents the 24th
Council District, which covers Kew Gardens Hills,
Pomonok, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates,
Briarwood and Jamaica.
ALL HE IS SAYING
IS GIVE WALMART
New York City schools are now
open, but once again out of work,
single income, poor, working and
middle class parents looking for
reasonable priced clothing and
educational supplies had to pay
more. Th is is thanks to elected offi -
cials who believe they know what is
best for you.
Polls of ordinary New Yorkers
continue resulting year aft er year
and now decade aft er decade to
support the right of Walmart to
open stores in the fi ve boroughs.
Residents in the other 57 counties
outside of New York City within
New York State have had the
option of shopping or not shopping
at Walmart for decades.
City residents continue to be
denied the opportunity to shop at
Walmart due to excuses made by
politicians and their union allies.
Th ey feel that we should oppose
Walmart because of substandard salaries
and unfair competition they
would provide against smaller stores.
Starting pay at Walmart averages
several dollars above the minimum
wage for new employees around
the nation. Promotional opportunities
including training for higher
paying managerial positions are
common. Th ey also off er health
care and other benefi ts. Walmart
may actually pay higher salaries
and off er more benefi ts than some
of their competitors such as Target,
K-Mart, Costco and BJs, which are
Th e free enterprise system made
our nation great. Economic growth
and the creation of wealth comes
from businesses — small and large.
Consumers shopping at Walmart
get a bigger bang for the buck by
being able to compare prices, quality
and service to other stores.
Consumers have voted, with
their feet, all over America making
Walmart the number one retail
merchant success story it is today.
It is time to allow Walmart the
opportunity to compete in the
NYC marketplace as well!
Larry Penner, Great Neck
LET’S TALK ABOUT
Th ough climate change may not
have been mentioned during the
hurricane coverage, I did see Chris
Cuomo of CNN try to bring it up.
But Republicans went and said this
is not the time to talk about climate
Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and
Maria all in the last few weeks,
and Katrina and Sandy years ago.
Ninety-seven percent of climate
scientists agree that climate change
is real and caused by human activities.
It’s been think tanks funded by
fossil fuel interests and Republican
politicians that have made climate
change a political issue.
Th ere are more severe hurricanes
every year. What fuels the strength
of these hurricanes? Warmer ocean
temperatures. Why? Global warming.
Yet Republicans are outraged
that Democrats want to address
climate change at a time when millions
are being aff ected by climate
Robert LaRosa, Whitestone
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