Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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You may request a "Special Absentee Ballot," which will allow you to vote without having to go to a public polling place. You must complete a form to request this ballot at your County Board of Elections. To find the location of your County Board of Elections: NYSElectionsCountyBoards.

You may also keep your voter registration records confidential. You must apply to the Supreme Court, in the county where you live, for a court order requiring the County Board of Elections to keep your registration information (including residential address) separate and not available to the public. To locate the Supreme Court in your county:

Unlisted Phone Number

You may request a new, unlisted phone number from your phone company or your cable television company (does not apply to cell phones). In order to be eligible, you must have a current order of protection and provide a copy of the order, if the company requests it. After your request is made, the company must provide the new number within 15 days. If you keep your current number, you can have it unlisted or have the option to list it under an alternative name or address. Call the customer service number on your phone bill for assistance.

Unemployment Insurance

You may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if you had to leave your job because your safety, or the safety of your immediate family member, was at risk. To receive benefits, you must complete an application to the NYS Department of Labor, either by phone or online. Information about eligibility, how to apply, necessary documents, and preparing for an eligibility interview can be found at: help/uibenefits.pdf.

Health Insurance Information

If you or your children are covered by health insurance (individual, group or HMO) and your spouse or partner is the policyholder, you can request confidentiality if you let your insurance company know that sharing information with your spouse/partner could put you or your children in danger. Your insurance company can require that you make this request in writing. By making this request, you can direct that your or your children’s insurance claims, forms, billing information, etc., be sent to a confidential address that you choose. Your address

and telephone number will also be protected. Any description of health care services provided, as well as the address and telephone number of the provider, will also be kept confidential. This law also applies to accident/auto insurance when you receive medical care for an accident. Contact your insurance company for additional information on how to request this option.

Terminating a Rental Lease

You may be able to get an order from housing court (NYC only) or Supreme Court terminating your lease or rental agreement if you have an order of protection and can prove that you would be at substantial risk if you remain in your apartment/home. The law requires multiple steps. You must show the court that you told your landlord of your intent to move, that you asked him/her to release you from the lease and that your landlord refused. You must also show that you do not owe any money to your landlord. The judge can decide to terminate the lease, even if your landlord objects. If you have a roommate who wants to remain in the apartment, you must show the court that you notified them of your intent to move and be taken off the lease. The judge can take you off the lease, even if your roommate objects. You may wish to contact a local domestic violence program to discuss the process, your rights and options.

No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce means that if you want to be divorced, you may file papers swearing that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” (it can’t be fixed) and that it has been that way for six months or longer. Your spouse cannot prevent the divorce by answering that they believe the marriage can be fixed. The law requires that all matters relating to the marriage – maintenance (spousal support), child support, child custody and visitation, and division of property – must be agreed upon by the parties or decided by the court before the divorce can be granted. Neither spouse has to say anything bad about the other, which may make no-fault divorce a safer option for victims of domestic violence.

New York has a mathematical formula for determining spousal support while a divorce action is pending. If one spouse earns a significantly higher income than the other, the spouse with the lower income may be entitled to temporary support while the divorce is being handled by the courts. This can also be helpful for victims who are trying to support themselves and become independent.

For information about any new laws that have passed, go to: http://


NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline

English & español, Multi-Language Accessibility National Relay Service for Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711


In NYC: 311 or 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

TDD: 1-866-604-5350