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New York Takes Steps to Ensure Victims of Domestic Violence Have Adequate Housing


New York has noticed that increasingly steps have to be taken to protect victims of domestic violence not just from the abusers themselves, but from prejudice from others. One example of prejudice against the victims of domestic violence is in housing. Frequently, victims of domestic violence find themselves evicted from their homes because of the disturbances that are caused by the very violence that they are victims of. The victims of domestic violence are not just victimized by their abusers, but often by the communities that claim to be helping them.

On January 5, 2006, the Federal Violence Against women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA 2005) were signed into law in an attempt to solve the problem of landlords trying to evict the victims of domestic violence because of the acts of the abusers. On April 1, 2008, a long time victim of documented domestic violence was involved in a dispute with her abuser at the location where the victim maintains a residency. Her apartment, which also happens to be a New York Housing Authority property, is not shared by her ex-boyfriend who has abused her since November of 2006.

The property manager of the apartments that she now lives in has filed a claim to have her evicted claiming that her violent episodes are a threat to her neighbors. The claim also states that she stabbed her ex-boyfriend during the April 1 incident. The victim maintains that her ex-boyfriend assaulted her on April 1 and during the altercation, they fell into a glass mirror. The glass fell around both of them, but she never intentionally stabbed him. She maintains that she is a victim of domestic violence and as such deserves the protection of the law to not be evicted based on circumstances that are beyond her control.

While the history of domestic violence between these two individuals is well documented, it may not be used to show that the victim is violent and capable of stabbing her assailant, they can be used to document the pattern of domestic abuse that exists between these two people.

The property manager alleges that the victim gave her assailant access to the building on numerous occasions. She stated that on several occasions when the building security refused to allow the victim’s assailant onto the property, that the victim became irate. She would scream and yell and used obscenities until he was allowed in. The courts point out that part of the pattern of domestic violence is the erratic behavior by the victims. The victims often react in ways that seem odd from the outside. The court takes the stand that the victim’s behavior highlights her as a victim of domestic violence rather than as a person who deliberately tries to cause a problem on the premises. It is not unusual for a victim of domestic violence to change their minds repeatedly about prosecuting their attackers. It is just all typical of the cycle of domestic violence.

The victim’s motion for summary judgment is granted. The court finds that the victim is a protected party under VAWA 2005 and therefore forbids the government housing authority from terminating her tenancy.

Issues of law are constantly changing. A person who is not specifically trained in the law cannot begin to know what all of their rights are without the assistance of a professional. Here at Steven Bilkis and Associates, we provide New York Order of Protection Attorneys, New York Domestic Violence Lawyers, New York Assault Attorneys, and New York Criminal lawyers. New York Family Lawyers will stand by you and ensure that your rights are protected. New York Personal Injury Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are considered. We make sure that you are rightfully awarded compensation for your suffering.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its Domestic Violence Lawyers has convenient offices throughout the New York Metropolitan area including Corona, New York. Our Personal Injury Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a Domestic Violence Lawyer you could lose precious compensation to help with your medical bills and the trauma to you and your loved ones following such a frightening experience. This is true even if the Attorney for the assailant has not adequately made their case. In addition to Personal Injury Law, Stephen Bilkis and Associates can recommend Criminal Lawyers who will protect your rights if you are ever arrested.

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