Updated 10/23/2012 06:37 PM
New alert system aims to protect victims of domestic violence
People get e-mail and text messages for many reasons. Now, police want to add orders of protection to the list. Lori Chung has more from Schenectady where police unveiled a new pilot program that aims to protect victims of domestic violence.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- “Victims know that this is a very dangerous time in their life” said Carole Merrill-Mazurek.
But, there's hope that a simple alert sent in the moments after an order of protection is served to an abuser will help.
"Text message, email, fax or an automated phone call or you can even check on the web" said Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike.
The Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Network, or SAVIN, is a joint effort by law enforcement from throughout New York, allowing those who seek protection orders from family court to sign up and learn exactly when that protection begins and for good reason.
"Most of the deaths that we have seen in our area has been because a victim has had the courage to get an order of protection, and the perpetrator was very dismayed" said Merrill-Mazurek, the Director of YWCA's domestic violence services.
New York's new alert system comes on the heels of a deadly mass shooting in Wisconsin where police believe a man gunned down his wife and two others at a salon, before taking his own life.
"It's not just something that happens behind closed doors, because incidents happen in our malls, in our workplaces, they happen all over the place" said Gwen Wright, the acting Executive Director of the New York State Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence.
And, advocates say it's a cause for all to be concerned. But, with SAVIN, victims will have time to plan.
“Where you will go, who you will stay with, how will you keep your children safe, what important papers you will take with you” said Merrill-Mazurek.
Officials say the new system fills a void that victims have long complained about: not knowing when their abusers were notified, and when it would be appropriate to call police. This free service was first rolled out in 23 counties. It will be expanded to all upstate counties outside of New York City by the end of November.