What Other Services Are Available?
You may need help and services that the domestic violence program doesn’t provide. Communities across the state offer services that can help meet some of your other needs. Domestic violence programs can give you information and referrals for these services, including:
- educational opportunities including General Education Development (GED) or college degree programs, English as a second language classes, certificate programs, and scholarship, grant, and stipend programs;
- employment programs like One-Stop Centers that assist with job training and placement, professional development, resume writing, interviewing skills, and job searches;
- culturally-specific services and groups, including information about immigrants’ rights and help for non-English speakers;
- health-related services including primary care, family planning, pre- natal care, breast exams, pediatric care, reconstructive cosmetic surgery, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS and HIV;
- low-income and/or affordable housing programs and relocation assistance;
- alcohol/other substance recovery programs, mental health services, children’s counseling services, parenting programs, and support groups;
- child protective and preventive services;
- unemployment insurance;
- food stamps, food pantries; and
- child health insurance.
For more information about where you can get some of these services, look in the Resources section of this booklet.
Department of Social Services
Your local Department of Social Services (DSS) provides temporary assistance, such as cash assistance and SNAP (formerly called food stamps), to those in need. Every county has a local DSS office. When you go to your local DSS office, bring several forms of ID (such as photo ID, driver’s license or non-driver’s license ID), your social security card, your birth certificate, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
As a client applying for or in receipt of cash assistance and other services from the local DSS, you will be expected to participate in certain program requirements (employment, child support, and drug and alcohol screening and/or treatment).
Remember: Always ask to see the Domestic Violence Liaison (DVL).
If you identify yourself as a victim of domestic violence in need of temporary assistance and you cannot comply with the program requirements of the agency due to domestic violence, you have the right to see the Domestic Violence Liaison (DVL) in the DSS office, and you can request to see the DVL at any time. The DVL can help you apply for a waiver which could delay your participation in the program requirements, while providing you with the cash assistance and services needed. The DVL will also provide you with community resource referrals, as needed.
If you are a victim and do not have access to your order of protection or other documentation, the DVL can assist you with obtaining documentation needed and determine what type of waiver you may be granted. The most important thing to know is you do not need an order of protection or any other documents to prove that you are a victim of domestic violence.
In New York City, temporary assistance is known as public assistance and is provided by the Human Resource Administration (HRA) through “Centers” located in each borough. If you are a victim of domestic violence and in need of cash assistance and housing services, the DVL can help you at the various centers. For more information, please contact the HRA Info line at (718) 557-1399.
New York State Office of Victim Services
The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) gives financial relief to victims of crime and their families. Payments are available for crime-related expenses. Victims may be compensated for crime- related expenses including, but not limited to: medical and burial expenses, loss of earnings or support, counseling costs, the cost to repair or replace personal property, security system installation expenses, some court and/or medical transportation expenses, the cost of staying at or using any for-fee services of a domestic violence shelter, emergency moving expenses, and limited attorney fees.
To apply for compensation, you will need a criminal justice report relating to the crime.
People who may be able to get OVS compensation include, but are not limited to:
- innocent victims of a crime;
- victims of crime who were physically injured as a result of the crime;
- victims of crime who are under age 18, age 60 and over, or disabled, who were not physically injured as a result of the crime;
- relatives and/or dependents, including surviving spouses, children, parents, siblings, stepsiblings, stepparents, or people primarily dependent on a victim for support;
- child victims, children who witness a crime, and the children’s parent, stepparent, grandparent, guardian, siblings, or stepsiblings;
- victims of unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping;
- victims of trafficking;
- stalking victims; and
- victims of frivolous lawsuits brought by a person who committed a crime against a victim.
If you think you qualify for victim compensation, you can file a claim application. You can get an application by calling OVS at 1-800-247-8035 or you can download an application from their website: www.ovs.ny.gov.
Applications are also available from local victim assistance programs, police stations, hospital emergency rooms, or domestic violence programs. You can ask an advocate if you need help filling out the application. To apply for compensation, you will need a criminal justice report relating to the crime.
Address Confidentiality Program
The New York State Department of State oversees the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which provides substitute addresses for domestic violence victims. If eligible, victims will be assigned a specific ACP post office box number that can be used to receive first class, registered and certified mail, including service of court documents. The ACP program will forward all mail received at the ACP post office box to the victim’s home or another address.
To be eligible, applicants must declare that they are a victim of domestic violence, have left their home because of the violence and fear for their or their children’s safety. Other people living in the same household with the victim (for example, children, parents or siblings) may also be eligible. Participants are enrolled for four years, but may reapply if an extension is needed.
Domestic violence victims who enroll in the program receive an identification card to verify ACP participation. The substitute address will be accepted by all state and local government agencies and may be accepted by non-government organizations, private businesses and companies (department stores, banks, insurance companies, utility companies, etc.). This address can be used as an official address for court petitions, drivers’ licenses, vehicle registrations, traffic tickets, unemployment insurance, school records, library cards, and applications for services such as public assistance or Medicaid, etc.
For more information about the ACP and how to apply for a substitute address, please visit bit.ly/NYSACP or call 1-855-350-4595.
Counseling Services in Your Community
If counseling is a service you want for yourself or your children, call your local domestic violence program for suggestions. If you are employed, call your workplace employee assistance program (EAP), if your employer has one, for local services. If you are worried about the cost, ask for referrals to counselors who use a sliding fee scale. Look for a counselor who:
- Makes your safety, not your relationship, the priority;
- Is willing to help you develop a safety plan that meets your needs;
- Supports your right to make your own decisions;
- Listens to you, takes you seriously, takes the abuse seriously, and doesn’t judge you or make you feel ashamed about past physical or sexual abuse;
- Doesn’t hold you responsible for your partner’s violence, and doesn’t encourage you to change as a way to get your partner to change;
- Doesn’t ask you to bring your partner into the counseling session;
- Is willing to involve a domestic violence advocate, if you wish;
- Understands that domestic violence is really about control, not about anger, stress, or alcohol/other substance use;
- Looks at the effects of all your partner’s controlling behaviors on you – physical, sexual, economic, emotional, and psychological abuse;
- Is sensitive to your cultural or religious beliefs; and
- Doesn’t assume that you are abusive if you “hit your partner, too,” but understands that many abused women use violence as a way to fight back or defend themselves.