Attorney General Letitia James, along with state and local officials, this week reminded victims of domestic violence that they are not alone and that help remains available around-the-clock.
On average, more than 10 million individuals per year are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. While social isolation is necessary amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it may aggravate what is already a widespread problem.
“With the pandemic forcing society to stay primarily in their homes, it is understandable that victims of domestic violence are feeling particularly vulnerable at this time,” said James.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez weighed in on the issue as well, reminding those who have a pending domestic violence case in Brooklyn that his Domestic Violence Bureau remains available at 718-250-3300 and that individuals can request an order of protection by calling 646-386-5299.
“These are challenging times for everyone, especially those who must stay home with an abusive partner,” said Gonzalez. “But even during this health crisis, you don’t have to suffer in silence.”
James also encouraged abuse victims to reach out and use their voices if they are in need of help. Resources given for those in need of assistance is the Brooklyn Family Justice Center at 718-250-5113 or the National Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
“As we take extraordinary steps to confront the threat to public health posed by this global pandemic, we must not lose sight of the very real potential for an increase in intimate partner abuse. I encourage those who experience domestic violence to reach out to relevant resources for help and guidance during these difficult times,” James finished.
State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) expressed his concern for individuals who are suffering by domestic abuse and encourages them to call the resources given so that they can get the help they need, including websites to visit for those who are dealing with stress and anxiety as well.
“We encourage you to visit the NYC HOPE Resource Directory online at www.nyc.gov/NYCHOPE for help. You can also call NYC Well (888-692-9355) or text “WELL” to 65173,” Myrie wrote in a routine coronavirus update email.
Additionally, City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer sent a letter calling on the Family Court of the State of New York to implement a series of recommendations to ensure all survivors of domestic violence across the city have safe and equitable access to available court services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his letter, Stringer requested increasing resources, improving communication, and leveraging legal service providers to better assist and support survivors, especially in obtaining and enforcing orders of protection.
“As we take shelter in our homes during this pandemic, it’s vital to remember that home is not a safe place for everyone,” said Stringer. “For New Yorkers isolated with their abusers, home can be life-threatening. The systems in place to support those experiencing violence, including the courts, must adapt to meet survivors where they are so no one falls through the cracks. This emergency is testing all levels and systems of government, and we must innovate in order to protect our most vulnerable New Yorkers—who we know will need the most public support to weather this crisis.”
The following is a list of resources for anyone experiencing intimate partner abuse:
- Anyone whose life is in immediate danger should call 911.
- The National Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline is: 1-800-799-7233, or for TTY: 1-800-787-3224.
- The New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-hour hotline is: 1-800-942-6906, or for the deaf or hard of hearing: 711.
- The 24-hour hotline for Safe Horizon, a non-profit serving individuals in New York City is: 1-800-621-4673.
- The 24-hour live-operated bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline for the Violence Intervention Program is: 1-800-664-5580.
- The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides a directory of available programs by county: NYSCADV.org/find-help/program-