In early April of this year, the World Health Organization cited their concern of intimate partner violence increasing during the global COVID-19 pandemic, as statistics have historically shown that violence against women tends to increase during every type of emergency, including health epidemics. The extended time at home breeds tension, limits the ability to distance oneself, and often escalates incidents of abuse. This is multiplied when schools are closed and children must also stay at home, and when family members lose jobs, creating further stress. And in New York City, where many families share small apartments and confined spaces, a stay-at-home order can feel like a prison for domestic violence survivors.
On July 14th, 2020, NYLAG held a live Q&A discussing safety planning while living with an abuser, how to use technology safely, and more. You can view the pre-recorded video and answers to some FAQs below.
Below are some of the FAQs Answered:
- You can call the 24-hour domestic violence hotline: 800-621-HOPE (4673). If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also call 911.
- Bring copies or originals of all important documents such as IDs, birth and marriage certificates, police reports, social security cards, medical records, orders of protection, photographs of injuries, documents showing joint residency, and financial documents. Keep in mind that you may not have access to the home again after leaving, so you will want to take with you anything that would be difficult or time-consuming to replace.
- If the order of protection excludes the abusive partner from the home, you can change the locks. Project SAFE can send a professional locksmith to your home to change locks for free if you meet all qualifying criteria. You can contact them at 855-234-1042. To reach the telecommunications device for the deaf machine for hearing impaired clients: 800-810-7444.
- Although the Family Courts are not physically open, all family courts are still accepting and hearing new cases for orders of protection. You can e-mail the court at [email protected] or call 646-386-5299.
- You can also reach out to your borough’s Family Justice Center for help in drafting the petition.
- It should still be valid. On March 23, 2020, Hon. Jeanette Ruiz issue an administrative order extending all temporary orders of protection that expired on a date when the case could not be heard. All such orders extended under the terms and conditions of the original order until the date the matter is re-calendared unless the order is terminated or modified by a judge.
The Court should be sending out notices to all parties about re-scheduled appearances for orders of protection. Please be patient. If you have questions, you can e-mail [email protected] but the Court should be reaching out regarding new dates.