Rights of a Victim of Domestic Violence

If you are the victim of domestic violence and a police officer has responded, you may request

  • that the officer assist in providing for your safety and that of your children, including providing information on how to obtain a temporary order of protection,
  • that the officer assist you in obtaining your essential personal effects and in locating and taking you and your children, or assist in making arrangements to take you and your children, to a safe place within such officer's jurisdiction, including but not limited to a domestic violence program, a family member's or a friend's residence, or a similar place of safety. When the officer's jurisdiction is more than a single county, you may ask the officer to take you and your children, or make arrangements to take you and your children, to a place of safety in the county where the incident occurred.
  • that the officer assist you in obtaining such medical treatment, if you or your children are in need of medical treatment.
  • a copy of any incident reports at no cost from the law enforcement agency.
  • the district attorney or a law enforcement officer to file a criminal complaint.

You also have the right

  • to file a petition in the Family Court when a family offense has been committed against you.
  • to have your petition and request for an order of protection filed on the same day you appear in court, and such request must be heard that same day or the next day court is in session.

Either the Family Court or the District Court may issue an order of protection from conduct constituting a family offense which could include, among other provisions, an order for the respondent or defendant to stay away from you and your children. The Family Court also may order the payment of temporary child support and award you temporary custody of your children. If the Family Court is not in session (for example, on a weekend or holiday), you may seek immediate assistance from a criminal court like the District Court in obtaining an order of protection. The District Court may issue or modify an order of protection that will give you enough time to go to the Family Court to file a petition.

You have the right to seek legal counsel of your own choosing and if you proceed in Family Court and if it is determined that you cannot afford an attorney, one must be appointed to represent you without cost to you.

The forms you need to obtain an order of protection are available from:

  • the Suffolk County Family Court Probation Department Intake
    400 Carleton Avenue, Central Islip NY 11722
    631 853-4246
  • and the District Court Clerk's Office
    400 Carleton Avenue, Central Islip NY 11722
    631 208-5775

The resources available in your community for information relating to domestic violence, treatment of injuries, and places of safety and shelters can be accessed by calling the following toll-free numbers for the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-942-6906 (in Spanish: 1-800-942-6908)

You also may call Local Domestic Violence Hotlines:
Victim's Information Bureau 360-3606
Suffolk County Coalition against Domestic Violence 666-8833
Brighter Tomorrows 395-1800
The Retreat 329-2200

Filing a criminal complaint or a family court petition containing allegations that are knowingly false is a crime.

If a criminal charge has not been filed start with your local police precinct to file a charge. Only then can an Order of Protection be obtained in a criminal court.

If a criminal charge has been filed start with the

See also Adobe Acrobat PDF DocumentThe Pocketbook (32pp 2006) developed by the County Executive's Task Force to Prevent Family Violence.

More information about the rights of a crime victim and witnesses ...

back to top