Domestic violence is a far more prevalent problem than most people realize. By some estimates, as many as one in three women have been abused by an intimate partner. While domestic abuse occurs more commonly against women, men can be victimized as well.
Domestic violence is not limited to physical and sexual assaults. Abuse between intimate partners can take many forms, including coercion, threats, intimidation, destroying property, abusing pets, put-downs, name-calling, humiliation, denying, blaming, isolation from family and friends, using children, and economic abuse (such as withholding money).
If you or someone close to you is experiencing this type of treatment, you should consult an attorney with experience dealing with domestic violence issues or contact the Family Justice Center of Erie County. Located at 237 Main Street, 14th Floor, Buffalo, New York, the Family Justice Center offers free “one-stop” services to address all aspects of intimate partner violence. Resources available include counseling, safety planning, crisis services, shelter referrals, medical examinations, child assessment, and assistance with law enforcement, criminal prosecution, orders of protection, and civil legal matters (e.g., divorce or custody), to name just a few. The Center will also provide translation and transportation if necessary. You can reach the Family Justice Center by telephone at (716) 558-SAFE or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It can be beneficial to seek help even if a domestic violence victim is not ready to leave her abuser. A counselor can help formulate a safety plan, an individualized set of strategies designed to maximize the safety of a victim who may be in danger. An attorney can advise as to the legal options available in the event the individual decides to end the relationship at some point in the future. Communications between an attorney and client are confidential and generally cannot be disclosed without the client’s permission.