The city will make available 312 new shelter beds for victims of domestic violence in an effort to ease a chronic shortage, Mayor Giuliani said yesterday.
The city also will hire 14 more workers to answer calls from battered women as part of a $7 million expansion of victim support systems that will use state, federal and proposed city funds, Giuliani added.
Giuliani said the improvements are in response to a survey by City Controller Alan Hevesi, whose staff found that women seeking refuge from abusers often could not get anyone to help them.
The controller’s staffers made 112 calls over two weeks to a 24-hour city domestic violence hotline established by Giuliani. The line was often busy and lacked staff fluent in foreign languages other than Spanish.
Eighty-two callers said they were victims. Of 57 callers who got through, 36 were told they could not get help because there were no available beds, Hevesi said.
“Of those who connected, 63% were not able to obtain help in the system and were left on their own,” Hevesi said.
Giuliani stood next to Hevesi at a City Hall news conference as the controller described flaws in the mayor’s system. Giuliani thanked him, then announced his plan.
He insisted he has made improvements since becoming mayor. And he said the system is burdened because the city is taking on more cases by advertising its services.
“The city should really be encouraged here,” Giuliani said. “New York does more about domestic violence than any city in the United States.”
Joyce Shepard, a Queens social worker who, Hevesi said, relentlessly pursued him to look at the shelter system, called the announced improvements a good beginning.
“I felt like I made history in seeing a Democratic controller standing next to a Republican mayor as they put aside their differences and worked together to save the lives of citizens,” Shepard said.
Original Story Date: 041897