Domestic violence survivors can now register to be alerted when their abuser has been served with a retraining order under a free nationwide service that debuted in New York State last year.
The Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification, the local division of which has been dubbed SAVIN-NY, notifies users when sheriff’s deputies serve an order of protection to their perpetrator on Long Island and beyond. The program complements the Victim Information and Notification Everyday system (VINE), which allows users to be notified by phone, text or email when an offender is released from jail or prison—it even has iPhone or Android apps. That program came about in 1998.
“Victims of domestic violence and other crimes often live in fear that someone who victimized them may one day return to do so again,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, whose office enforces orders of protection and houses inmates. “VINE and SAVIN-NY can provide peace of mind by giving people timely information at critical moments.”
Local officials held a news conference reminding the public about the services in early October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Both services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Timely sharing of such information is helpful to domestic violence survivors, since stalkers are most likely to seek revenge when being served with retraining orders or upon being released from behind bars.
“This month, as we honor victims and celebrate survivors and raise awareness, I want anyone who needs support to know that they are not alone,” said Colleen Merlo, executive director of the Suffolk County Coalition against Domestic Violence, a nonprofit advocacy group that provides services to survivors.
Advocates also noted that domestic violence doesn’t only impact the individual survivor.
“Today, one in four children are exposed to some sort of family violence in their lifetime,” said Marlene Gregory, executive director of Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk, a like-minded group. “These numbers are shocking and unacceptable… I hope that all will see that domestic violence is not just a women’s issue.”