New York’s Safe Way Home Act, which started from Greenpoint resident Deborah Spiroff’s crowdfunding campaign to provide sexual assault victims free transportation home from the hospital following treatment, is now officially law.
Governor Cuomo signed the act into law this week and Senate Bill S3966A, as it’s known, goes into effect in three months, NBC reports.
The Governor’s 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda passed legislation this year including criminalizing revenge porn and strengthening workplace harassment protections, but the Safe Way Home Act uniquely has Greenpoint roots.
Concerns were raised by Spiroff for sexual assault survivors who have to walk home alone after being discharged from Wyckoff Heights Medical Center where she has volunteered in the Violence Intervention Treatment Program for three years.
“I’ve had more than one case where after the person has been treated they’re just released, and they literally were walking home from Wycoff Hospital at 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning,” Spiroff told Greenpointers last winter when the bill was first introduced.
Spiroff met with Assemblymember Joe Lentol, who drafted the bill, which was sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar.
Spiroff sent Greenpointers a statement regarding the passage:
“This law started out as an individual (myself as a victims’ advocate) who was angry with not having the resources to support victims of sexual assault. I reached out to my community and then both Assemblyman Lentol and Senator Salazar for a more permanent solution than fund raising efforts. This law is so important because we are making it just a little be easier and safer for women to report and receive treatment for sexual assault. An example of how speaking up can help change things for the better. More work needs to be done, but this is so important for victims’ rights.”
“This will provide safety&peace of mind so survivors will not be burdened with the logistics/paying for transportation home,” Lentol shared on social media.