Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (A.5318/S.2356) requiring companies to allow victims of domestic violence, who are fleeing their batterers and have received an order of protection, to terminate their multi-year or bundled contract with a telephone or cable or satellite company at a location they have fled without penalty.
"Survivors of domestic violence should not have to handle the added stress and red tape that comes with contract termination penalties," Governor Cuomo said. "When leaving an abusive environment, a clean break is critical and in New York we will give survivors the resources they need to move onto the next chapter of their lives."
While multi-year contracts with telephone or cable companies offer consumers better price-saving options, the fees to cancel such contracts vary across providers and can be charged to victims of domestic violence who are fleeing their abusers. In many cases of domestic violence, it is necessary for victims to leave behind items of intrinsic and financial value and sever all ties with their offender. By allowing victims, who submit a written claim, to terminate their contracts at a location they have fled without penalty, we are strengthening protections for victims and providing tools to potentially ease the stress and trauma often associated with domestic violence.
Senator Kevin Parker said, "One of the greater callings of public service is to rise up for the vulnerable. By providing this service to survivors of domestic violence, we make the path to freedom smoother. I am proud to stand by this legislation and am hopeful that this will ease the transition for survivors."
Assembly Member Nily Rozic said, "Too often, domestic violence survivors and their families face hurdles when rebuilding their lives, so it is important that we enact policy to lift them up and help them break away from cycles of abuse. I am proud to have sponsored and passed this legislation and thank Governor Cuomo for his continued leadership on this issue."
Earlier this year, the Governor signed the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, which codified more meaningful sentence reductions for domestic abuse survivors in the criminal justice system.