In this article:
To locate shelter in the 5 boroughs of New York, dial: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).
Safe Homes Project
Offers victims a confidential location in the neighborhood.
Center Against Domestic Violence
The Center for Anti-violence Education
327 7th Street, 2nd floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215
“The Center for Anti-violence Education (CAE) is a multi-racial, intergenerational, community-based, nonprofit organization that develops and implements violence prevention programs. CAE’s holistic programs help participants build skills, heal from past abuse, and organize to counter the destructiveness of violence in their lives and communities. CAE's programs focus on women, girls and LGBTQ communities, with a special sensitivity to the needs of survivors. Participants build skills to enable them to heal from, prevent, and counter violence. We do this work to actively create a peaceful, just, and equitable world.”
NYC Family Justice Center
Brooklyn Walk In Center: 350 Jay Street, Brooklyn, 11201
PSP members tips:
"The Family Justice Center (FJC) provides information and services for domestic violence victims in one location. Clients may walk in and choose which services they want, services are free and available to all victims regardless of sex, age, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. Language interpretation is also available."
"Also going to the Family Justice Center (early like 9 am) may be easier than calling. If they can't take your case ask them for referrals of organizations that may be able to. And ask for a consultation with one of there civil legal attorneys. The folks from South Brooklyn Legal Services are very good."
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
"You don't have to have been physically abused for them to talk to you and be able to offer advice and help."
The Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention program (SAVI)
"SAVI is run out of Mt Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. They offer free and confidential counseling not only to survivors of sexual assault and domestic/intimate partner violence, but also to their friends and family."
Joyful Heart Foundation
Mayors Office To Combat Domestic Violence
They also provides a comprehensive list of options availabe from the city and state level through to independent groups available in the metropolitan area.
Al-Anon Family Groups
If you have been affected by someone elses drinking, Al-Anon helps families and friends whose lives are impacted by alcoholics.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Santuary for Families
Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence. Every year, they help thousands of adults and children move from fear and abuse to safety and stability, transforming lives through a range of comprehensive services and advocacy.
Womankind (formerly NY Asian Women's Center)
formerly NYAWC, works with survivors of gender-based violence to rise above trauma and build a path to healing. They also have two emergency shelters. They also provide counseling. They also have three community locations in Brooklyn (Sunset Park), Manhattan, and Queens.
Brooklyn location: 504 62nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220, Monday: 9am-7pm and Tuesday – Friday: 9am-5pm
24/7 Multilingual Helpline: 1-888-888-7702
There are currently 26 domestic violence and abuse shelters and programs in New York, NY with 11 offering a hotline and 9 offering emergency shelter.
to get free legal counsel regarding your rights
Her Justice (previously Inmotion)
“is an AMAZING non-profit.”
New York Legal Assistance Corp.
They take calls from new clients on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9-3.
Urban Justice Center
South Brooklyn Legal Services
General help to get child support without a lawyer.
Sanctuary For Families' Legal Center
212-349-6009 and press 2.
Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Project (VLP)
The VLP focuses on serving people with special problems in gaining access to the legal system, especially the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons affected by chronic illnesses and victims of domestic violence.
VLP volunteer attorneys provide assistance to families and individuals in crisis, providing representation and counsel on a variety of family law matters including child and spousal support, custody, visitation and uncontested divorce. The family law program is designed with special concern for women who are victims of domestic violence and with a keen sensitivity to resolving familial conflicts with a minimum of disruption and animosity.
Brooklyn Law School Legal Clinic
"This group can help you (and your children) get on your feet financially. DA can also help you live the life you really want to live: living and working where and how you want, being paid abundantly for what you love to do, being around the people you really want to be with. And being happy. It is possible!"
“Leslie Morgan Steiner's "why domestic violence victims don't leave.” The probability that this hits home for at least one of you is almost 100%.
"There is a great book called To Be an Anchor in the Storm that is a guide for families of women surviving abuse."
"October is DomesticViolence Awareness Month--DV is not about "losing control" it's about gaining power and control over another person and it's never the victim's fault. This is a great visual."
"Tina Swithin has a blog, onemomsbattle.com, and has written a book, "Divorcing A Narcissist."Both the blog/book discuss her relationship with her ex and co-parenting."
"Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a book by Bill Eddy (rec from Tina's blog)."
You are not alone. According to Safe Horizon, "1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime." PSP Members share how they have experienced domestic abuse themselves or with their loved ones & friends.
From one PSP member who herself was in, and came out of, an abusive relationship:
“Keep a log/diary. I had bits of paper with notes detailing dates, incidents, etc. Sloppy, yes, but they really helped jog my memory. If/when you call a hotline give them your real name/town. When they asked me, I hesitated, but gave it. When my divorce went to trial, the hotline was able to give me the transcripts of the many calls I'd made.
Discuss a Safety Plan with the Domestic Violence hotline. They will give you tips tailored to your situation. If you are assaulted, call the police and press charges. I didn't and it worked against me in divorce court.
Find a great therapist who understands Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Find a great lawyer. If your gut tells you they are not right, find another.
Check the resources others have suggested. I divorced out-of-state, so can't comment on NY's resources. The ones I found varied from really lousy to top notch.
Don't trust the Family Court to understand/save you. Although I hired a lawyer, I had to learn - the hard/expensive way - to advocate for myself and child.
My motto with my ex is "Do not engage, do not enrage." I try to communicate via e-mail.
Find resources for your child. Again, I was out-of-state, but was lucky to find wonderful groups for children going through divorce.
Try to be a good parent. Set aside all concerns/frustrations re: your spouse and focus on having a good relationship with your child. This is really hard, sometimes.”
From a PSP member who was a former crisis counselor:
“Kudos to you for recognizing that this is horrendously abusive behavior, and that abuse is not necessarily confined to the physical.
I used to work as a crises counselor at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Going into one of these facilities or a safe house is certainly one way to escape this toxic relationship. I won’t sugar coat this; making the move to such a place will be a huge and even difficult transition. You will be forced to abandon everything that is familiar and essentially go into hiding. The upsides is you will have dedicated counselors and case managers assigned to address your specific needs and that of your child, and assist on the journey of relocating, and living in a safe environment. One thing is clear, and that is you for the sake of not only your precious child, but your sense of self-worth, and mental health you need to remove yourself and your son from this volatile and emotionally unhealthy situation as soon as possible.
I strongly suggest that you reach out to a wonderful organization called Safe Horizons [see resources section above]. I worked closely with them during my tenure and found them to be extremely helpful. I too grew up in an abusive home, where my mother, my sister and myself had to flee in fear of our lives in the dead of night with nowhere to go. I understand the feeling of defeat and desperation.”
Seek Help Immediately:
“First of all, there are millions of women in the exact same situation that you are in, and you have not done anything wrong to end up there - the fact that you are reaching out to identify ways to get out shows great strength and you should give yourself a lot of credit. As a first step, I would recommend speaking with someone at a domestic violence agency, if you are able to find time to either set up an appointment or just make a phone call - I worked for one years ago (in Connecticut), and we helped individuals (though mostly women) from all different kinds of families and situations but who shared the same problem of ending up with an abusive partner (and in many, many cases, the verbal, emotional abuse was far worse than any physical). Someone there will know of any additional resources available to help make a transition out of this situation (even if it will take some time) and may help talk through both general planning for how to eventually leave, if that is what you want, as well as to help sort out all of the emotions that you are dealing with as someone who has lived in this situation for so many years.”
Start Documenting Abuse:
“In cases where abuse is not physical (and even sometimes where it is) you are right that it can be very difficult to prove. It sounds like he is capable of being quite calculating and manipulating. Consider starting to document occurrences (in a very well hidden journal or password protected web based email that he has no access to and preferably from a computer that cannot be monitored). If your friends witness anything ask them to make a written record of this also. Please be very careful to protect your own safety. Recording (concealed voice recording) is also an option but riskier in terms of detection and normally not admitted in court as against privacy laws. Only allowed if the person has been told they are being recorded. If he ever slips and uses abusive language in a recorded phone message or similar make sure you keep it! Keep safe and strong."
Develop An Action Plan:
“The story that reminded me of yours had to do with a woman who quietly socked away thousands of dollars in a cereal box so that she would have the resources to get a place to live and retain legal counsel. I know that you probably want to move quickly now that you have made up your mind, but patience seems to be an important ally.
As you sock away money, you may also want to keep a diary of all the times your spouse makes cutting remarks to you. If you can, record him. You should also ask any friends who witness the abuse to keep a diary as well. At the same time, take stock of all the things you do for your child. Keep record of this as evidence that you are the best caretaker of your child. This way, when you appear before a judge it will be your records vs. your husband's empty charisma, not a he said, she said battle. Sociopathic narcissists tend to fare better in such situations than the sane people who are abused by them. But keeping records you will arm yourself with facts.
Financial records of the money he has blown will also help you. Keep records of credit card bills and bank withdrawals. If you aren't working, perhaps you should consider a part time job to help you save.
Right now you are going on emotion, but you need an action plan. This will not only help you down the road, it will give you some confidence as you move toward your exit. As you gather your money and materials, you can also look for a lawyer and get other support services that you likely need.
Of course, if he raises a hand to you, call the cops.”