Domestic Violence: How To Keep Yourself Safe

For more immediate assistance with Domestic Violence, go to 311 Online or NYC 24-Hour Hotline at 1-800-621-4673.


It Can Happen To Anyone
domestic_violence_help_300x300Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence) is aggression between you and a current or past partner.

  • Partner violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race/ethnicity, income, education, immigration status or sexual orientation.
  • Most victims are women but men can be victims, too.

It Often Occurs In Cycles, And It Usually Gets Worse.

  • Partner violence can begin early in a relationship and often lasts a long time.
  • It usually occurs in cycles, and often becomes more frequent and severe over time.
  • Your partner may apologize, give you gifts and promise never to hurt you again.
  • But the abuse usually does happen again.

Abuse Is Always Wrong.

  • Sometimes it is also against the law.
  • A violent relationship is NOT your fault.
  • Abusive partners must want to change. They must stop all violent behavior.

There are different types of violence and abuse.

1. Emotional abuse limits your freedom. It scares you or makes you feel bad about yourself. An emotionally abusive partner may:

  • Bully you by calling you names, interrupting you and insulting you.
  • Keep you from seeing family or friends, or from going to school or work.
  • Be overly protective, possessive or jealous.
  • Take your money or documents, deny you money, or make you account for everything you spend.
  • Withhold sex or affection to manipulate you.

2. Threats are words or gestures that make you believe your partner will hurt you, your loved ones or your pets. A threatening partner may:

  • Stalk you or constantly call you on the phone.
  • Hold a weapon while saying mean or scary things like:
  • I’m going to report you to welfare (or immigration, or the police)
  • I’m going to take these kids and leave.
  • I’ll kill myself if you don’t stay with me.

3. Physical abuse is any use of force to harm you or your loved ones, or to destroy things that you value. A physically abusive partner may:

  • Push, slap, kick, hit, cut, or burn you, your loved ones or your pets.
  • Deny you food, sleep, or medical care.
  • Destroy your clothes, photos, or other belongings.

4. Sexual abuse is forcing any sexual activity. For example:

  • Forbidding you to use birth control or condoms is sexual abuse.
  • Forced sex is rape, and rape is a crime – even between people who are married or living together.
  • Changing behavior is difficult and it can take a long time.

Partner violence can cause or worsen MANY health problems.

  • Physical injuries may be serious and result in disability or even death.
    • Approximately 4,000 women and 900 men are treated in NYC emergency rooms for partner violence every year.
    • About 40% of women killed in NYC each year are killed by their intimate partners.
  • Sexual abuse may cause unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and infertility.
  • Stress-related problems may lead to:
    • Anxiety, depression, eating and sleeping problems.
    • High blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
    • Suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • Abuse also makes it harder to care for yourself. You may not see a doctor regularly for important tests, immunizations and care.

1. Help is available.

  • Talk to someone you trust, such as a family member or a friend. Or talk to your doctor or religious advisor.
  • Talk to a Domestic Violence Hotline counselor about how to get safe. Call 311 or call 800-621-HOPE (800-621-4673).
  • Make a short list of people you can call in an emergency. Memorize their phone numbers.

2. Think ahead about how to escape.

  • When you are being bullied or attacked, avoid going into rooms with no exits (bathrooms) and rooms with dangerous objects (kitchens).
  • Know all the ways to escape your house or apartment building in an emergency.

3. Keep important documents together in a safe place.

  • Order of Protection (if you have one).
  • Legal and identity documents (birth certificate, Social Security card, Passport, green card,marriage license, driver’s license).
  • Financial documents and information (checkbook,credit cards).
  • Apartment lease, insurance policies, permanent medical records and prescriptions.

4. If you leave your partner, protect yourself.

  • Change your phone numbers. Screen all calls.
  • If you must meet your partner, go to a public place.
  • Change your routine (how you go to work,when you go shopping, etc.).


  • New York City Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 311 or 800-621-HOPE (800-621-4673)
  • New York Police Department Rape and Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 311 or 212-267-RAPE (212-267-7273)
  • LifeNet
  • Call 311 or 800-LifeNet (800-543-3638)
  • Spanish LifeNet: 877-AYUDESE (877-298-3373)
  • Asian LifeNet (Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean): 877-990-8585
  • New York Asian Women’s Center: 888-888-7702
  • NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project: 212-714-1141
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 866-331-9474, 866-331-8453 TTY
  • Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men: 888-7HELPLINE (888-743-5754)


Source: NYC Dept of Health Bulletin