If you are experiencing domestic violence in your home, you still have access to the courts for help even in a time when the coronavirus pandemic is shutting down businesses and other institutions. Even if there has been no physical violence yet, you may still fear for your safety. In this time of mandatory “stay at home” orders, things may get challenging and frightening quickly. Please know that your local County Family Court in New York state remains open to help you.
Governor Andrew Cuomo stated on April 3, 2020 that the New York State Police has reported a 15-20% increase in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are one of the many people who has suffered domestic violence during this health crisis, the New York State Family Courts are open to help you. Your local County Family Court remains open to victims of domestic violence to petition for, and obtain, Orders of Protection.
Both the courts and the police can help if you experience domestic violence. Do not hesitate to dial 911 if you are in trouble or a partner, spouse, or family member threatens you or your children. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you can obtain an immediate Order of Protection. Your attorney can assist you in filing an emergency petition in your local County Family Court. You do not need to endure violence or live in fear because the pandemic has closed many doors.
By Administrative Order AO/78/20, the family courts in New York will remain open to receive petitions for temporary orders of protection and emergency family offense petitions. To assist your attorney in drafting your petition, you must have the respondent’s name, address, and what they did or threatened to do to harm you or your children.
The most important thing to do if you have experienced domestic violence is to contact your local police department, or call 911 if it is an emergency. They can help you get to a safer environment or remove a perpetrator of domestic violence. A family law attorney can help you navigate the appropriate New York state agencies and providers to get help and get you a protective order. These orders could prevent this person from having any contact with you, or they can limit the kind of communication this person may have with you or your children. These orders can be obtained quickly to protect you and keep you and your children safe.