Bill Creating Hope Cards Introduced In State Assembly

A bill in the state Assembly is aiming to make orders of protection easier to enforce.

Assemblywoman Sarah Clark, D-Rochester, is proposing the creation of hope cards (A.5040) that contain the information and content of a final order of protection to those who want them. The cards would come at no charge to those who want them from the courts. Hope cards are a wallet-sized, laminated card that people can carry with them which hold the same validity as a traditional paper order of protection.

Fairfax County, Va., officials said a hope card can reduce the time on scene for officers responding to incidents of protection order violations, allow officers to verify if there is a valid protective order in place and provide a sense of security to victims. It also helps keep officers safe by informing law enforcement about weapons involved in the incident resulting in a protective order.

“Domestic violence advocates cite that currently in New York, survivors have no simple way to assist in the enforcement of their orders of protection,” Clark wrote in her legislative justification. “Long-form paper copies of orders of protection are difficult to carry and can easily be damaged or lost. Allowing New York state to issue Hope Cards will create a path for survivors to discretely and quickly share pertinent details of an order of protection, with any party they choose to — whether neighbors, family members, school personnel, or co-workers.”

Five states have created Hope Card programs — Indiana, Idaho, Montana, Virginia and, most recently, Illinois. The Illinois proposal requires hope cards to include identifying information of the respondent including a photograph, case number, active dates of the order of protection and other pertinent information. The Indiana program applies only to orders of protection 12 months or longer.

Hope card legislation was introduced this week state of Washington and has been fast-tracked by legislators.

“I can’t underscore enough the importance of ensuring that these orders are taken seriously, and that victims are protected and abusers are held accountable,” said Democratic Party Rep. Lauren Davis during testimony on the bill this week, according to The Olympian in Washington. “This bill helps us get there.”


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