Sentencing for Convicted DV Survivors: Public Opinion

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Of New York State residents who responded to a 2010 Empire State Poll conducted by Cornell University, 60% reported that they believe judges should have the option of giving reduced sentences to domestic violence victims convicted of crimes directly related to their abuse.

In telephone interviews with a random sample of 800 New Yorkers, researchers asked the following question:

 Tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement:

 Judges should have the option to give reduced sentences to victims of domestic violence who have been convicted of crimes against their abusers (such as homicide or assault) and/or other crimes committed because of an abuser’s influence (such as forgery or robbery).


That 60% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement indicates that public opinion across the state favors judicial discretion in survivor-defendants’ cases.

Join the hundreds of individuals around New York State who have asked their state legislators to co-sponsor the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (S.3337/A.4314). This bill, sponsored by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry, would untie judges’ hands so that they are not required to dispense long, harsh prison sentences to survivors who act to protect themselves after suffering horrific violence from an abuser.

For more information about the bill and campaign, visit: