Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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This booklet is for anyone who may be abused, or anyone who thinks they know someone who may be abused. It is not always easy to recognize abuse.

This booklet will help you figure out if your current or former partner is abusing you. You can find information about how to get help if any of the following describes your situation:

If your partner does any of these things to you, please know that none of it is your fault.

If you know someone, including a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor who is being abused, please know that it is not their fault. This booklet will give you information on how to help them, including:

If you are a professional in certain fields such as criminal justice, health, mental health, faith based communities, or social services who works with victims of domestic violence, you will find useful information in this booklet as well.

Consider sharing this booklet with someone who might find it helpful, if you believe it is safe for the person to have it.

A Note About the Language in this Booklet:

Domestic violence is one of the most serious public health and criminal justice issues facing society today. Because the vast majority of reported victims of domestic violence are women who are abused by their current or former male partners, parts of this booklet will refer to victims as female and abusers as male.

Most of the information contained in this guide will apply to all victims regardless of their gender or the gender of their partner, including people who are lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, or queer, and men who are abused by their female partners.

For the purposes of this booklet, the term “domestic violence” is defined as “abuse by one adult intimate partner against another.” Sometimes the phrase “intimate partner violence (IPV)” is used instead of domestic violence. While the information included in this booklet is primarily meant for adults, it may also apply to adolescents experiencing abuse by someone they are dating. There is also information for teens in the Specific Populations section of this booklet.

Portions of this booklet will apply to New York State only and may not be accurate in other states. If you are outside of New York State, check with a local or state organization near you that is familiar with the laws, policies and procedures of your community, such as a government agency, the statewide domestic violence coalition, or a domestic violence program. To find a program in your area, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.