State Sen. Parker passes Phoenix Act to address intimate partner violence

Sen. Kevin Parker, D- Brooklyn,
Sen. Kevin Parker, D- Brooklyn, during a news conference at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y.
Associated Press / Hans Pennink, file

State Senator Kevin Parker, candidate for New York City Comptroller, on Wednesday, May 26 applauded his Senate colleagues for passing Senate Bill S.3020A, the New York State Phoenix Act, sponsored by Senator Parker. The act, which passed the chamber unanimously, would for the first time define Coercive Control as a felony offense in New York State, as well as extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting intimate partner violence.

Coercive control is a pattern of verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse toward an intimate partner. It involves ongoing oppressive behavior like intimidation, gaslighting, degradation, isolation, and false accusations. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, about 34 percent of women and 40 percent of men in New York will experience coercive control at some point in their lives. Its effects may not be physical, but the emotional toll can last a lifetime.

By defining the offense of Coercive Control, New York State would join a select few governments at the forefront of combating this serious crime. Currently, Hawaii, California, England, Wales, and parts of Australia have laws against coercive control.

“Intimate partner violence, including coercive control, is not a joke or ‘none of my business.’ It is a real and serious problem affecting thousands of New Yorkers,” Senator Parker said. “I am happy to see that all 63 members of the Senate voted in favor of this bill because it shows that we understand and recognize the need for a formal law to combat this abusive practice. I look forward to my colleagues in the Assembly passing this vital piece of legislation in the coming weeks, and the governor signing it into law before the end of the legislative session.”