New York State has committed $50,000 to The Retreat, eastern Long Island’s only domestic violence shelter and full-service domestic violence services agency. State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle “successfully secured” the funds, which will go toward advocacy activities, such as helping battered women understand their rights, accompanying victims to court and connecting them to needed services and programs, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
“What this means in real terms is that a woman who has fled a partner that has been harming her, will get the legal and emotional support that she needs to establish a long-term plan for safety and independence from violence,” said Jeffrey Friedman, the executive director of The Retreat. “The work of Senator LaValle and his willingness to prioritize the needs of survivors of domestic violence here on the East End is unduplicated and extraordinarily important.”
Mr. LaValle did not return a request for comment on Monday.
The Retreat’s advocacy department helps survivors of domestic violence by helping them navigate the legal system and the network of agencies, like Child Protective Services and the Department of Social Services for example, that clients might deal with as they separate from their abusers.
Advocates from The Retreat accompany clients to each court date in family court and explain the process and proceedings, and provide emotional support. They also help clients find an attorney or give referrals when a client is not eligible for a free, legal-aid attorney. As cases progress, the advocates collaborate with clients and their attorneys and often take a leading role in helping each client file necessary petitions and in debriefing the client after each court appearance.
The Retreat responded to nearly 3,200 hotline phone calls last year and predicts nearly the same number for this year—which represents a 96 percent increase in calls from three years ago, according to The Retreat.