Information for Victims: Law Enforcement
If you are a victim of IPV, you are entitled to expect a response from law enforcement. It is helpful to know what police are expected to do.
When they respond to a domestic incident – including one between same-sex intimate partners regardless of whether they live together10 – police in New York State are required to:
- Fill out a Domestic Incident Report, and give you a copy. On the back of the DIR is the Victims’ Rights Notice.
- Make an arrest, if certain conditions are met. The police make the arrest decision, not you. They are not allowed to ask you whether they should arrest your partner, and they may arrest your partner when you would rather they didn’t.
- Try to identify and arrest the primary physical aggressor. Police usually should not arrest both people.
If a victim gets arrested
You - the victim – may get arrested if:
- Your partner convincingly lies about what happened.
- The officers rely too much on gender stereotypes (for instance, that the larger or more “masculine” partner is the abuser), and do not correctly identify the primary aggressor.
- You have committed a felony, even in self defense.
If you get arrested:
- Get an attorney. The court must provide an attorney for you at no cost if you cannot afford one on your own. You will be given information on how to get a Public Defender at arraignment.
- Tell your attorney about any previous incidents when the police responded and you were identified as the victim. Ask your attorney to contact the Assistant District Attorney handling your case, and make sure they know about these prior incidents. This will help provide context for the prosecutor to understand the current incident.
- Do not contact the District Attorney's office on your own. If they are prosecuting you for a crime, they are not allowed to talk to you without your attorney