Voluntary LGBTQ Endorsement Program Will Reflect Statewide Initiative to Make Domestic and Sexual Violence Services More Survivor-Centered, Trauma-Informed, and Culturally Responsive

Help Increase Access and Inclusion for LGBTQ Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) will develop, launch and implement an LGBTQ Endorsement Program for domestic and sexual violence service delivery to reduce the barriers that LGBTQ survivors of gender-based violence face when seeking safety. The voluntary initiative will give domestic violence programs the opportunity to be certified as LGBTQ affirming and inclusive in their services, policies and practices, and will establish a new commitment to the LGBTQ community statewide.

From Now through October 2022, OPDV will partner with the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) to develop the program standards and guidelines. The new LGBTQ affirming programmatic standards will create guidelines for the physical environment, staffing, client rights, intake and assessment, service planning and delivery, confidentiality and outreach and inclusion. This initiative comes as a part of New York State’s work to transform gender-based violence service delivery systems to be more survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive. Additional state and national experts will be consulted in partnership with AVP to ensure the program is best positioned to support LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence.

OPDV will offer the LGBTQ Endorsement to domestic violence programs that meet all components of the program, including programmatic standards and the ability and readiness to provide LGBTQ affirming services. Additionally, OPDV will provide policy development, technical assistance and training to support the implementation of this improved standard of access and inclusion.

OPDV Executive Director Kelli Owens said, “These guidelines are an important step in ensuring that New York State adequately serves our LGBTQ community. By increasing access to care, removing barriers and supporting domestic violence service delivery programs in becoming inclusive, LGBTQ survivors of gender-based violence will have the effective and culturally responsive resources they need when seeking safety and support.”

OPDV is developing the program in partnership with key stakeholders, including, New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV), members of the New York State LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence Network and other domestic violence programs.

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, “The Office of Children & Family Services applauds the leadership of Governor Hochul and OPDV Director Kelli Owens and sees this as a great opportunity. We look forward to working with OPDV on this initiative. The program will provide tools to our domestic violence programs to be culturally responsive to the traumas within the LGBTQ community and trauma related to domestic violence. This initiative is aligned with OCFS’ continued dedication to treat all New Yorkers with respect and dignity.”

New York City Anti-Violence Project Executive Director Beverly Tillery said, “As one of only two LGBTQ-specific organizations in New York State that work to respond to and prevent intimate partner violence, AVP sees every day the way that LGBTQ survivors face disproportionate rates of violence and higher barriers to safety, support, and services. We believe in exploring new models of community safety that center the needs of those most vulnerable, and we are excited to collaborate with OPDV to ensure every survivor can access resources to support their immediate safety and long-term healing.”

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is the country’s only executive level state agency dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. The state’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline provides free, confidential support 24/7 and is available in most languages: 800-942-6906 (call), 844-997-2121 (text) or @opdv.ny.gov (chat).