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February 29, 2012

Order of Protection Registry and Domestic Violence System (DVS) – NY


Copies of the tables referenced in this report are available by calling OPDV at (518) 457-5800.
The Registry, which became operational in October 1995, is required by the DVIA to accept and maintain active orders of protection issued pursuant to articles four, five, six and eight of the Family Court Act, Section 530.12 of the Criminal Procedure Law, sections 240 and 252 of the Domestic Relations Law and all arrest warrants issued pursuant to section 827 of the Family Court Act and article 120 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Chapter 511 of the Laws of 1996 clarified that family offenses (for purposes of issuance of criminal orders of protection plus entry of such orders onto DVS) include any crime or violation between spouses, former spouses, parent and children, or members of the same family or household. This even includes crimes for which the Family Court would not be exercising concurrent jurisdiction. For example, a wife was sexually assaulted by her estranged husband and received an order of protection. While not a family offense, it made sense to include an order prompted by such an offense on the Registry for the information of police and courts. Orders of protection issued in domestic incidents that do not involve "statutory" family or household members, such as a live-in couple with no children in common, are currently not required to be carried by the Registry. Nevertheless, such cases often fall under the broader definition of family or household in the domestic violence policies established by a substantial number of police agencies.





Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1994:

Evaluation of the Mandatory Arrest Provisions

Copies of the tables referenced in this report are available by calling OPDV at (518) 457-5800.
The Registry, which became operational in October 1995, is required by the DVIA to accept and maintain active orders of protection issued pursuant to articles four, five, six and eight of the Family Court Act, Section 530.12 of the Criminal Procedure Law, sections 240 and 252 of the Domestic Relations Law and all arrest warrants issued pursuant to section 827 of the Family Court Act and article 120 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Chapter 511 of the Laws of 1996 clarified that family offenses (for purposes of issuance of criminal orders of protection plus entry of such orders onto DVS) include any crime or violation between spouses, former spouses, parent and children, or members of the same family or household. This even includes crimes for which the Family Court would not be exercising concurrent jurisdiction. For example, a wife was sexually assaulted by her estranged husband and received an order of protection. While not a family offense, it made sense to include an order prompted by such an offense on the Registry for the information of police and courts. Orders of protection issued in domestic incidents that do not involve "statutory" family or household members, such as a live-in couple with no children in common, are currently not required to be carried by the Registry. Nevertheless, such cases often fall under the broader definition of family or household in the domestic violence policies established by a substantial number of police agencies.

Through the Domestic Violence System (DVS), the Unified Court System (UCS/OCA) collects and stores all family offense orders of protection and warrant information issued by the courts of the State of New York -- including all Family Courts, criminal courts, Supreme matrimonial terms, and Town and Village Courts. The data is held in the system after the orders become inactive, in accordance with records retention guidelines, thus providing for inquiry into the domestic violence history of individuals. Access to this system is currently available to judges and courts and other qualified agencies, such as Probation, through the courts. Twenty-five courts in New York City and on Long Island and seventy- four upstate courts have computerized on-line access to the DVS. Other courts use the Family Protection Registry Center to enter (by fax or courier) new orders of protection and to inquire by telephone about pre-existing orders. Ultimately, over 100 courts statewide, including 24 major court buildings in New York City and Long Island, will be able to electronically access the Registry via DVS.

Immediately upon entry into DVS, select order information is transmitted to the New York Statewide Police Information Network's (NYSPIN) Order of Protection file, which is a repository of active orders of protection information. The NYSPIN "Hot File" is specifically designed for inquiry purposes by law enforcement and is a crucial tool for effecting the mandatory arrest provisions of the DVIA. Police communications specialists and NYSPIN-certified officers (including Probation and Parole staff) can search the file to verify the existence or terms of an order of protection. Upon serving orders of protection, local law enforcement agencies update the NYSPIN file with the associated service information. This data is immediately forwarded back to the DVS database. In addition to the UCS historical DV registry and the NYSPIN "hot file" DV registry, NYSPIN transmits orders of protection to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) "hot file" registry.

Searches into the Registry may be made by name, docket number, social security number, NYSID, or license plate number. These searches may be done on a statewide basis or limited to a given court or county. On-line "Person Summaries" which summarize a person's history, and "Order ReCaps" which print all order information for a given order, are available to judges to assist in the adjudication of domestic violence cases. This information can be used, for example, by a criminal court judge to modify an existing Family Court order of protection, or to validate that an active order of protection does exist in another court, to identify the person(s) protected by the order, and to establish the terms and conditions of the order.

In an attempt to make the Registry information more accessible to the courts, DVS was augmented in June 1997 with a new inquiry application using the Unified Court System's CourtNet's Intranet. This new "Web DVS Inquiry" is available to all courts on CourtNet with the simple installation of Web Browser software. Inquiries via the web are extremely fast and also produce Order Recap and Personal History reports. There are currently over 85 courts using the Web DVS Inquiry system.

It should be noted that the UCS DVS registry maintains strict confidentiality controls on access to the DVS. Each user is trained in the use of the system and is assigned his/her own login and password. Since this is very sensitive information, it is limited to "Intranet", as opposed to Internet, access. Information regarding new orders and updates is transmitted from the UCS registry into NYSPIN for use by law enforcement, pursuant to Executive Law §221. The UCS registry contains data on orders and related warrants in matrimonial and Family Court proceedings that are subject to the confidentiality strictures of Domestic Relations Law §235(1), Family Court Act §166 and related rules [N.Y.C.R.R. §205.5] as well as data on youthful offender cases governed by Criminal Procedure Law §720.35(2) and criminal cases subject to restricted disclosure under Criminal Procedure Law §160.55. Significantly, the registry contains data on temporary orders of protection and all categories of pre-trial cases, both civil and criminal, which are often ex parte orders issued without proof of wrongdoing and in advance of trial. Access to information on the NYSPIN system as well is limited by statute: subdivision four of Executive Law §221-a provides that "[c]ourts and law enforcement officials shall have the ability to disclose and share information with respect to such orders and warrants consistent with the purposes of this section, subject to applicable provisions of the family court act, domestic relations law and criminal procedure law concerning the confidentiality, sealing and expungement of records." Subdivision six of the same section provides that "[t]he superintendent [of the Division of State Police] shall establish procedures for the prompt removal of orders of protection from the active files of the registry upon their expiration."

There are approximately 450 to 500 orders registered daily on the UCS Domestic Violence Registry. As of September 19, 2000, there were 604,768 Orders of Protection reported on DVS. Of these 68,528 were active and 536,230 were inactive. These totals include New York City Family Courts, criminal courts, Supreme criminal courts, Supreme civil courts and non-New York City Family Courts, local criminal courts, county criminal courts and Supreme Courts. Tables 5 (Number of Orders of Protection in the OCA Historical Domestic Violence Registry as of September 19, 2000 - New York City Courts), 6 (Numbers of Orders of Protection in the OCA Historical Domestic Violence Registry as of September 19, 2000 - Non-New York City Courts) through 7 (Numbers of Orders of Protection in the OCA Historical Domestic Violence Registry as of September 19, 2000 - Town and Village Justices) display this data in more detail.

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