Recent national studies have drawn strong correlations between domestic violence and a woman's inability to obtain self-support. As such New York State adopted the Wellstone Murray Option under the Welfare Reform legislation of 1996. Under this option the Nassau County Department of Social Services has developed a safe, secure interviewing area for those applicants or recipients of temporary assistance who are victims of this insidious crime.
The unit is staffed by bilingual workers who have received extensive and ongoing training by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The department has also developed close working relationships with various community-based agencies as well as criminal justice to ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence. With this program, victims' ability to recover and move towards self-sufficiency is of primary importance.