Nicole Atlak



This Note brings attention to the New York Legislature’s failure to consider the unique vulnerability and harms of pregnant victims of domestic violence and proposes a statutory amendment. This Note proposes that Section 827(a)(vii) of New York’s Family Court Act be amended to include an additional aggravating circumstance with language to the effect of “any physical injury or psychological, emotional or sexual abuse to a pregnant woman.” This addition is necessary to ensure the list of aggravating circumstances is thorough, and more complete in encompassing all serious and heinous domestic abuse.

Part II of this Note will offer a deeper understanding of domestic violence, and New York State’s response to this important public health and human rights issue. Part III will discuss the prevalence of violence towards pregnant women, and the unique vulnerability and harms to pregnant victims, including harm to both mother and child. Part IV will delve further into the proposed amendment to the FCA, and offer reasons rooted in public policy and rich with scientific evidence as to why the proposed amendment is necessary. Part IV will also address any additional counterarguments to the amendment and offer conclusory notions.



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