Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Service Referral Process for Victims of Domestic Violence

Public assistance recipients who are victims of domestic violence are not required to seek employment or participate in other work-related activities such as job training , if they or their children would be placed at risk of further abuse as a result of such participation. After actions have been taken to provide protection against further abuse, these recipients are usually required to participate in work-related activities. Public assistance recipients in New York are served by 58 local social services districts, which are overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

We examined the appropriateness of the actions taken in six local districts (New York City and the counties of Dutchess, Erie, Nassau, Oneida and Suffolk) in assessing the safety needs of recipients who were identified as victims of domestic violence and in referring such recipients to appropriate service providers. We found that, except in Erie County, the actions taken by the local districts often were not adequately documented, and as a result, district and OTDA managers could not be reasonably assured that the activities were performed as intended. For example, for 23 of the 99 recipients in our sample who were exempted from work-related requirements because compliance with the requirements might have resulted in further domestic violence, there was no documentation indicating that the recipients had been referred to any of the services that were available to help victims of domestic violence avoid further harm. We recommended that OTDA work with the local districts to ensure that their activities were documented in accordance with requirements.

For a complete copy of Report 99-S-4 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.