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Know your rights as a domestic violence victim and parent

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2023 | Domestic Violence |

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, it’s important that you know your rights. Understanding how best to protect yourself and your children can provide you with a strategy to get away from your abuser and start a new life. Whether you’re married or otherwise living together, domestic violence is a serious matter, and New York has laws in place to protect victims. The most important thing to remember is that you and your children should not have to live in fear. 

What to do after a domestic violence incident 

Many victims of domestic violence struggle to decide when to leave. You may fear retaliation from your abuser, or you may worry about what will happen to your children if you leave. In New York, you have the right to request help from the police. They can assist you in getting away from a violent situation and provide you with information on obtaining an order of protection.  

As a victim of domestic violence, you may have to leave your home quickly and without the ability to take your and your children’s possessions. You have the right to contact the police and ask them to help you return to your home to get the essentials. You can also ask for help in getting to a safe place like a shelter or the home of a friend or family member. If medical care is necessary, a police officer can assist you in getting to a facility for treatment.  

What happens once you get away? 

Once you’ve removed yourself and your children from the abusive situation, you should begin preparing for the future. Legally, you may have to testify against your abuser in court. To prepare for this, you may request all documents related to the incident. For family offenses, you can request an order of protection, and the court must hear that request on that day or on the next day the court is in session.  

An order of protection can keep your abuser away from you and your children. Depending on the situation, you may receive temporary child custody and child support until a further hearing can determine a more permanent custody and support arrangement. You can find any forms you need at any local criminal court or family court.  

Seek legal help immediately 

Making decisions while you’re under an extreme amount of stress, which is common in domestic abuse situations, can be challenging. It’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible so you’re aware of your rights as a victim of domestic violence. An attorney can provide you with guidance on navigating New York’s legal system so you’re able to get yourself and your children away to safety.