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Domestic Violence is criminal conduct and New York law provides for immediate deterrent action by law enforcement officials and the judiciary to deal with domestic violence, as well as imposing penalties for acts of violence.

The Family Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Criminal Court over certain family offenses.  Every police officer, peace officer or district attorney investigating a family offense is required to advise the victim of the availability of a shelter or other services in the community.  The victim must also receive written and oral notice of his/her rights and remedies.

The law specifies that a victim of domestic violence has the right to request that the officer assist in providing for the victim and his/her children, and provide information on how to obtain a temporary order of protection.  The officer will also assist in obtaining essential personal effects, locating and taking children to a safe place and obtaining necessary medical treatment.

The law permits a victim of violence to request that the district attorney or a law enforcement official to file a criminal complaint and gives the victim the right to file a petition in family court when a family offense has been committed.  Either the criminal court or the family court may issue an order of protection which may include, among other provisions, an order for the offending party to stay away from the victim and children. In some cases, the Order of Protection will include provision for access to children.

An order of protection may require a person who commits domestic violence to participate in an education program designed to help end violent behavior, as well as possibly referring that person to drug and alcohol counseling.