City Comptroller Scott Stringer said on Thursday that New York City Family Courts aren’t doing enough to make sure that domestic violence victims are getting restraining orders — and that survivors’ safety might be at risk as some are forced to stay home with their abusers.
In a letter to Administrative Judge Jeanette Ruiz, who is in charge of the city’s family courts, Stringer said that “limited court staffing and communication” because of the coronavirus pandemic is making it more difficult for survivors to obtain or renew orders of protection.
There are now three judges handling Family Court matters and a limited number of clerks assisting them, Stringer said.
“For New Yorkers forced to isolate with their abusers, home can be life-threatening. This is why the systems in place to support survivors, including the courts, must adapt to meet survivors where they are,” the letter reads.
“I believe more could be done to strengthen this critical lifeline at a time when many survivors may feel literally trapped inside their homes,” Stringer said.