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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined as a pattern of coercive tactics and abusive behaviors perpetrated by one partner against a current or former intimate partner with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control. Domestic violence has many forms some of which may include: physical abuse (e.g. strangulation, hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional or psychological abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic abuse.

Abuse can occur without regard to the parties’ sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, race, age, socio-economic status, disability, education level, culture or religion.

Generally, this section provides users with various domestic violence-related articles, policy and advocacy documents, legislative summaries and updates, training and Domestic Violence Task Force Meeting announcements, impact litigation highlights, program updates, and other resources. We also maintain sub-sections addressing other critical cross-over legal issues impacting domestic violence victims including: housing, public benefits, immigration, rights of the Deaf and disabled communities, as well as the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities.

*If you are a victim in need of immediate assistance, please call:

NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (English): 1-800-942-6906; NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (TTY English): 1-800-818-0656

NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (Spanish): 1-800-942-6908; NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (TTY Spanish): 1-800-780-7660



Nuisance Ordinances & Domestic Violence: Resources
Information on local nuisance ordinances and how they affect victims of domestic violence. Read More

S.4955 Will Solve the Nuisance Ordinance Problem
Access to stable housing is essential for survivors to maintain safety and independence from abusers, but assumptions about domestic violence victims have often resulted in survivors being refused housing, or even being evicted from their homes. Thankfully, in 2015, New York State passed landmark legislation as a remedy for this issue, protecting victims of domestic violence from housing discrimination. Read More


Domestic Violence and Legal Advocacy Groups Applaud Federal Guidance to Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence
Empire Justice Center and the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) applaud new guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on current nuisance ordinance laws. Read More

Rochester lawyer to co-chair effort to help domestic violence victims
Empire Justice Center Senior Attorney Amy Schwartz will co-chair a new initiative to improve access to legal services for domestic violence victims announced by the New York State Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York. Read More


Empire Justice Memo of Support: Provide Domestic Violence Victims in Crisis with Basic Updated Information About Their Legal Rights and Remedies
Despite its initial creation over two decades ago as a key part of New York’s 1994 ground-breaking Family Protection and Family Violence Intervention Act overhaul of domestic violence laws, the Victim’s Rights Notice has never been substantially amended. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Provide Married Victims of Intimate Partner Violence with a Protective Economic Safety Net
A.7032 (Mayer)/S.5815 (Savino) seeks to provide married victims of intimate partner violence with a temporary economic safety net when they seek protection and intervention in Family Court. Empire Justice Center strongly supports this measure. Read More



Policy Matters September 2016
Empire Justice Center's September 2016 edition of Policy Matters. Read More



Know Your Rights: A Guide to Fighting Discrimination Against Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming New Yorkers Under the New York State Human Rights Law
Transgender and gender-nonconforming people in New York State are now clearly protected by our Human Rights Law (HRL), thanks to new regulations issued earlier this year. Our NEW GUIDE explains what gender identity-based discrimination might look like, and how to exercise your rights under the HRL. Read More





What Every Civil Legal Services Provider Should Know About Stalking: Investigation, Prosecution and Working with Victims
Originally presented as a training for law enforcement officers, this program contains valuable information for civil legal services practitioners. Presentations by police, prosecutor, and mental health officials discuss the important and intertwined issues of enforcement of stalking laws and treating the complainant-victims with respect and avoiding re-victimizing those seeking recourse from the judicial system. A civil legal services attorney presents topics of interest including the crime of stalking, alternate Family Court venues for qualifying victims, and what civil legal providers can do for complainant-victims in the criminal venue. The victim perspective is represented as well with a presentation by a victim of stalking who speaks about the decision making process related to whether to report the crime and how stalking continues to effect her day-to-day decisions. Read More

Working With LGBT(Q) Clients
This presenters discusses the research documenting the intersection of poverty and economic injustice in these communities. They will further address the emerging needs of LGBTQ-identified youth, including youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Participants will also learn about ways that civil legal services office can create an inclusive, safe, and comfortable atmosphere both for clients, as well as LGBTQ staff. Read More