This October marks the 35th annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic violence remains a prevalent issue throughout New York and the United States. Last year, there were 616 family-related homicides in New York City alone, according to the New York City Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee’s 2020 Annual Report.
Between 2010 and 2019, 77.1% of intimate partner homicide victims were women. Victims were disproportionately Black and Hispanic. According to the Local Law 38 Report of 2020, there were a total of 79,200 domestic violence incidents reported to the NYPD. In Bushwick, there were 1,060 incidents reported to police in 2020.
Given these statistics, calling the police in cases of domestic violence may seem like the most obvious option for some. However, a variety of factors, including one’s race, sexual orientation, gender and economic class, can make calling the police a difficult decision for many.
According to a National Domestic Violence Hotline survey, 80% of victims stated that they feel somewhat or extremely afraid of calling the police. Survivors of domestic violence often don’t trust the police because they fear the risk of being discriminated against by officers, their abuser retaliating against them, police violence toward their abuser or themselves, being blamed for their circumstances, or putting their children in harm’s way. In some cases, if a police officer is unable to determine the primary perpetrator, a survivor may be arrested alongside their abusive partner.
Calling the police could also make the situation worse for a victim if they’re not believed by law enforcement, leaving them in dangerous circumstances with their abuser.
There are several alternatives to calling the police if you are a victim or survivor of abuse. Below, you’ll find a compilation of local and national resources for survivors.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers confidential care and support via call, chat or text. Some who contact the hotline are survivors of abuse, some are concerned friends or family members, and some are abusive partners seeking to change themselves. Real people on the other side of the line offer immediate guidance and can point inquirers in the right direction, sometimes towards other local resources.
Call: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Text: Text “START” to 88788
New York’s state-oriented domestic violence resource center offers various options for support, including a live chat option for victims of abuse. According to opdv.ny.gov, “Getting help from someone who has experience working within different systems can make things easier for you. An advocate is there to help empower and discuss options, not make decisions for you. You are the expert in your own life and the only one who knows what is right and safe for you.”
Text: (844) 997-2121
North Brooklyn Coalition offers emergency services, housing assistance, psycho-education regarding trauma and other options for supporting survivors. North Brooklyn Coalition’s website states, “The Coalition’s creation was sparked by the experience and the needs of low-income women of color who experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, and it continues to be led by survivors from the North Brooklyn community. As an organization founded by Latinx and Black survivors, we are committed to serving all survivors, with an emphasis on the Latinx and Black communities in North Brooklyn.”
Call: (718) 302-4073
Email: [email protected]
Barrier Free Living is a New York-based service and shelter for survivors of domestic violence living with (or without) disabilities. The group has a “Freedom House,” a “safe and accessible shelter” where survivors and their families can receive counseling and support, among other things. Barrier Free Living also has “BFL Apartments,” long-term housing for survivors and their families. Barrier Free Living also has a deaf services team, which includes social workers and case managers fluent in ASL.
Call: (212) 533-4358 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday)
5. Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon is a 24-hour multilingual hotline that offers crisis resources and referrals for victims of domestic violence. They offer domestic violence shelter options, family justice centers and community programs for survivors.
Safe Horizon’s domestic violence hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
Safe Horizon’s rape and sexual assault hotline: (212) 227-3000
All hotlines: (866) 604-5350
Violence Intervention Program offers a live-operated bilingual (English and Spanish) 24-hour hotline in New York City, as well as counselors trained in providing support via crisis counseling and safety planning.
Violence Intervention Program’s 24-hour hotline: 1-800-664-5880
Featured Image: Anete Lusina via Pexels
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