NEW YORK, June 3 (Reuters) - Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. threw his support Friday behind a proposal that would create a new felony charge in New York state for repeat domestic abusers.
The legislation, sponsored by state senators Martin Golden and Daniel Squadron and state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, would subject abusers who commit two or more misdemeanor domestic violence crimes within five years to a class E felony charge, the lowest level of felony in New York.
According to the New York Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, 38 percent of domestic violence victims are abused again within six months, Vance said. Last year, police responded to nearly 250,000 domestic violence incidents in the city.
"Safety in our streets is no victory if we cannot keep New Yorkers safe in their homes," Vance said in a statement.
Defendants facing the new felony charge could face five years of probation supervision and up to four years in prison for more serious cases. The bill would cover spousal and child abuse as well as incidents involving "intimate partners, nontraditional familial relationships and adult children abusing parents," Vance said.
The law is dedicated to a New York City police officer, Alain Schaberger, who was killed in March after responding to a domestic dispute call when the suspect pushed him over a railing and down a stairwell. (Reporting by Joseph Ax)