Mayor Must Act to Address Crimes Against Women

Press Releases / November 4, 2019

With O’Neill Out, de Blasio Legacy on Sex Crimes Rests on Shea

For Immediate Release

A year and a half after the release of a highly critical NYC Department of Investigations (DOI) report into how the NYPD’s Special Victims Division (SVD) was failing to adequately address sex crimes, a change in leadership of the city’s Police Commissioner provides one last opportunity for the Mayor to make addressing sexual assault and rape a top priority.

Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women – New York City said, “With 26 months left in his final term, Mayor de Blasio has a limited window to take urgent action on the NYPD’s response to sex crimes. The #MeToo movement was unleashed during de Blasio’s tenure, forcing a spotlight on the lackluster record and persistent under-resourcing of the NYPD’s Special Victims Division. This is his last opportunity to turn around the division on his watch and establish a positive legacy on addressing gender-based violence.”

The DOI report documented a 10-year history of understaffing and under-resourcing within SVD, the unit charged with providing critical investigative police work serving a city of over 8.5 million people. Leading advocates have been meeting with Police Commissioner O’Neill and Chief Shea on a regular basis since the release of the report that identified high caseloads, inadequate investigations and insensitive and inappropriate treatment of victims.

Ossorio said, “Our message to the new Police Commissioner is that there are still far too many alarming cases where survivors are mistreated and investigations are mishandled. A measurable and transparent path to systematic changes and quality controls must be established so that every report is taken seriously and every survivor is met with the respect they deserve. In this #MeToo era, there is far too much at stake to fail to act forcefully to raise the bar for our city and the rest of the nation.”

NOW-NYC ignites change for the women and girls of New  York. We advance laws, promote women in politics, fight for reproductive justice, challenge discrimination and violence against women, and act NOW.

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For inquiries, email shannon@nownyc.org or call at 212-627-9895.