Whether we were dealing with a task force or a working group that is a semantic issue when senior administration aids have been working with advocates, many of whom made up the task force.
The administration also invited agencies to collaborate who predominately service communities of color and were not a part of the original task force to ensure inclusivity and meet the needs of all victims.
From the beginning of this administration we have proactively engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the domestic violence advocacy community to work collaboratively to reduce the incidence of domestic violence, meet the needs of the agencies and the victims and implement recommendations.
There have been a number of policy changes that have been implemented by the Bellone administration to raise awareness of the issue, engage communities and strengthen support for those effected by domestic violence.
Throughout 2012, a working group comprised of domestic violence agency advocates and senior Bellone administration officials met repeatedly to create a nationally recognized domestic violence database.
This database, which was a longstanding request of domestic violence advocacy community, was launched in October 2012 at public awareness event. This database allows data sharing among public and private agencies in order to address trends of domestic violence and provide the basis for where resources are needed.
In addition, Suffolk County Information Technology associates worked extensively with agencies to create integrated systems to share data.
Concurrent to the database creation, CE Bellone signed an historic Executive Order to ensure language access for all residents.
Domestic Violence agencies had identified limited language access as a significant barrier for those seeking assistance. County Executive Bellone also introduced sweeping changes to Suffolk County's Human Rights Law which now will include a protective employment status for domestic violence victims.