Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo confirmed that there has been an increase in reported domestic violence incidents across New York during the pandemic. According to his office, there was a 15% increase in March and a 30% increase in April.
It is clear that the lockdowns and shelter in place orders have had a detrimental effect on intimate relationships that were already strained and marked by hostility and even violence. Victims are confined with their abusers, many of them probably unaware that they still have access to safety and shelter. This may be one of the reasons why New York domestic violence programs are seeing a sharp decline in client numbers.
Help is still available when you need it
In a March 31 press release, Attorney General Letitia James confirmed that domestic violence victims do not have to suffer alone. Resources remain available around the clock to get them and their children to safety.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark confirmed that her office was offering support services for those experiencing abuse or violence within their home. She encouraged people to call the Crime Victims Assistance Unit at 718-590-2115 and leave a message. Messages are checked hourly, and all will be responded to by an advocate.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said that the Brooklyn Domestic Violence Bureau remained available at 718-250-3300 for those who have a pending domestic violence case. Help is also available from the Brooklyn Family Justice Center at 718-250-5113. Anyone needing an emergency order of protection can call 646-386-5299.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said that his office’s Domestic Violence Hotline is open to assist victims at 212-335-4308. He urged anyone in immediate danger to call 911.
Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said that his office’s Domestic Violence Bureau and Victim Advocates have been working with victims to provide necessary resources and protection while Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz encouraged those experiencing intimate partner abuse to call 911 if their life was in immediate danger.
Other national, state and local resources include:
- The National Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- The New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-hour hotline: 1-800-942-6906
- Violence Intervention Program: 1-800-664-5580
- Safe Horizon 24-hour hotline: 1-800-621-4673
- New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
If you were in the process of filing for divorce before the lockdown took effect, then your New York divorce attorney can also point you towards resources dedicated to protecting victims of domestic violence in your area. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Help is available, and once the courts reopen, you can proceed with the legal strategies needed to remove your abusive partner from your life and start over.