Welcome to the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) website. Created to serve as a clearinghouse of information about domestic violence in New York City, this site provides current and comprehensive statistics, information on initiatives and resources for you - victims, families, service providers, researchers, and other members of the community. We know that domestic violence affects all of us. There are no simple solutions, but we hope that the resources provided here will be of assistance.
This office was created in 2001 when New York City residents voted to make OCDV a permanent part of City government. To underscore this administration's zero tolerance for domestic violence, we are committed to protecting victims and holding offenders accountable through innovative programming, comprehensive policies, and efficient service delivery. In addition to developing policies and programs to assist domestic violence victims, OCDV collaborates with 14 City agencies which provide direct domestic violence services. These City services – crisis counseling, police assistance, public benefits, emergency shelter, and permanent housing – can make the difference between a victim staying in an abusive relationship or leaving the batterer. Through the City’s ongoing efforts, during the last eight years, family related homicides decreased by 20% citywide.
One of my office’s primary goals is to make it as easy as possible for domestic violence victims to get the help that they need. To reach this goal, my office has created one-stop service centers for domestic violence victims and their children in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, in partnership with the District Attorneys’ Offices, 26 nonprofit organizations and six city agencies. While visiting these centers victims can receive the following services: civil legal representation, on-site children’s room activities, safety planning, assistance with filing police and probation reports, counseling, meeting with a prosecutor, English as a Second Language classes, self-sufficiency services including resume assistance and job training, specialized services for the elderly and/or disabled, language interpretation, and voluntary spiritual support.
The City’s first Family Justice Center opened in July 2005 in Brooklyn. This Center has exceeded all expectations with an average of 1,500 client visits every month and has become a national model for large urban family justice centers. The City’s second Family Justice Center opened in Kew Gardens, Queens in July 2008 and currently records an average of over 700 client visits every month. The City’s third Center opened in the Bronx in April 2010. New York City is the only municipality in the country with multiple Family Justice Centers serving victims of domestic violence.
We are committed to providing services to all victims of domestic violence, regardless of their language or immigration status. At the City’s Family Justice Centers, we have on-site partner staff who speak 30 languages and also use Language Line telephonic interpreters. Our Language Line program has expanded to all police precincts in the City so that immigrant victims can tell their story to a police officer in their own language through dual handset telephones with immediate interpretation in over 150 languages. Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in identifying victims because they have a regular opportunity to ask their patients about domestic violence, regardless of the reason for the medical visit. Through Project H.E.A.L. (Health Emergency Assistance Link), victims at all City hospitals can speak to a trained social worker, have their injuries documented, and be connected to additional social and legal assistance. Additional domestic violence services are listed in our updated 2008 City of New York Resource Directory of Domestic Violence Services that may be downloaded from our web site.
Prevention, especially with young people, is the key to ending the cycle of violence before it harms another generation. In 2005, we launched the NYC Healthy Relationship Training Academy with support from the Department of Youth and Community Development and the AVON Foundation for Women through the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York. The Academy offers workshops on the topics of dating violence and healthy relationships for adolescents, young adults, and parents and also offers training for staff members of organizations who work with adolescents and young adults.
Domestic violence has devastating consequences. We are committed to using all of our City resources to combat it to ensure that New York City residents enjoy their right to live in a home free of violence.