Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals

Health Care


New York State Laws

In 1990, New York became the first state to require all hospitals to establish protocols for identifying and treating victims of DV. Health care providers need to know the laws and regulations that apply to their work with victims so that they allocate enough time to meet those responsibilities, understand how their work intersects with that of other professionals, and intervene ways that do not compromise the safety of victims.

Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act

(Chapter 222 of the Laws of 1994) Hospitals and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers are required to provide copies of the Victim's Rights Notice to all suspected or confirmed adult DV patients, in a private and confidential manner. View this Memorandum from the NYS DOH Web site, about the responsibilities of hospitals in complying with these requirements.

The Victim's Rights Notice, also available in Spanish, tells patients what their legal rights are, what kind of help is available from the police and the courts, and where to call for emergency assistance. Hospital administrators are reponsible for making it available in other languages commonly spoken in their catchment area.

Chapter 271 of the Laws of 1997

Facilities that serve maternity and pre-natal patients, on either an inpatient or outpatient basis, are required to distribute copies of Are You and Your Baby Safe, which is available from the Department of Health, in English and Spanish.

Injury Reporting Laws

New York State's Penal Law requires that:

There is no mandatory reporting of adult domestic violence in New York State.

Department of Health Regulations

Department of Health Domestic Violence Protocol

The Department of Health protocol, Identifying and Treating Adult Victims of Domestic Violence, outlines the responsibilities of health care providers and members of their staff toward victims of DV, and focuses particularly on the responsibilities of Emergency Department staff. It requires medical facilities to develop and implement policies and procedures that provide for the identification, assessment, treatment and referral of confirmed or suspected victims of DV, and identification of "medically-related, personal and social problems which may interfere with the patient's treatment." These policies must include:

DV Screening for HIV Partner Notification
(Regulation: 10NYCRR Part 63)

Department of Health regulations require notification of past and present partner of their possible exposure to HIV. Such notification has the potential to lead to or increase the risk of physical violence against the infected individual, their children, or others. Therefore, screening for risk of DV is a standard component of post-test counseling for HIV infected individuals, and partner notification will be deferred if it is determined that there is a risk of violence.

HIV counselors are required to:

AMA Guidelines

Key components of the American Medical Association's Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence include the following:

JCAHO Standards

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations' Accreditation Manual for Hospitals (1999) includes several standards relevant to work with patients who may be victims of DV:

The Department of Health and Human Services Language Access Plan 2013

This regulation makes it clear that every limited-English-proficient patient has a right to meaningful access to a hospital’s services; requires every hospital to develop a language assistance program and designate a language assistance coordinator; requires hospitals to identify and document each patient’s language of preference and the acceptance or refusal of language assistance services; sets clear limits on the use of friends, strangers, and family members as interpreters, including age restrictions; and so forth.