Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA)

The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (S1077/A3974) is a New York State bill originally introduced in 2011. It allows judges to go outside the regulated sentencing scheme and assess whether domestic abuse was a "significant contributing factor" to the alleged crime. For example, if a survivor commits a crime because a violent partner or family member abuses them, a judge can consider that a “significant contributing factor.” Another example is that if a survivor commits a crime because their abuser coerces them (threatens their life or safety, etc.), a judge can consider that a “significant contributing factor.” This allows judges to implement shorter sentences and, in some cases, alternative-to-incarceration (ATI) programs. ATIs are court-mandated programs that fall under the authority of governmental or non-profit agencies. They operate in conjunction with the criminal justice system across New York State. The bill also permits currently incarcerated survivors, who meet the criteria, to apply for re-sentencing or earlier release.

Kim speaking with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at the 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda unveiling in New York City.

Kim speaking with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at the 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda unveiling in New York City.

On March 4, 2019, the DVSJA passed the Assembly for the fourth year in a row. Then on March 12, 2019, it passed the Senate on it’s first ever vote 53-8. Throughout the legislation’s history, attempts were made to water down and manipulate the bill because it was seen as "weak on crime" or a "get-out-of-jail-free card."

Kim lobbying (R) State Senator Phil Boyle for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act in his office in Albany, NY.

Kim lobbying (R) State Senator Phil Boyle for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act in his office in Albany, NY.

After the DVSJA passed the Senate, Senator Roxanne J. Persaud put out a press release, which featured Kim and referenced an article written by writer/producer Natalie Pattillo in the last paragraph.

Kim collecting signatures of support for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at the 2018 Women's March in New York City.

Kim collecting signatures of support for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at the 2018 Women's March in New York City.