By Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes
I recently broke up with an ex-boyfriend who has begun to harass me and make threatening phone calls. Can an order of protection help me? If so, how do I obtain one?
If you are being harassed and threatened by a former boyfriend, your first step should be to report this to the police. You can do so by calling or visiting your local police precinct, where a domestic violence officer will be available to assist you, or by calling 911 if you feel you are in immediate danger.
An order of protection is an important and valuable document. It serves to inform an offender that he or she must abide by the provisions of the order or risk arrest and prosecution. In the majority of cases this means the offender must stay away from and have no contact with the named victim. Should the offender attempt to make contact, he or she will be found to be in violation of the order and thereby subject to arrest. Violation of an order of protection is a serious offense. The offender may incur a substantial penalty up to and including serving time in jail.
The District Attorney’s Office will request an order of protection on behalf of a victim if an arrest has been made and a case is pending in Criminal Court. Under certain circumstances, Family Court will also hear a request for an order of protection. To learn more, please visit http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courthelp,or call my Victim Services Unit at (718) 250-3820.
Trained counselors and advocates are available to help victims and their families in a safe environment within my office at 350 Jay Street. Counselors in my Victim Services Unit provide crisis intervention, counseling, safety planning, court escorts, mental and physical health support and referrals, advocacy with other agencies, and assistance to eligible applicants in filing for financial and medical reimbursements through the New York State Crime Victims Board. For further information or assistance, please call (718) 250-3820.
Additional assistance for victims of domestic violence can be accessed at Brooklyn’s Family Justice Center, which is also located at 350 Jay Street. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For general questions about domestic violence services, you can also call the New York City 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE or 311.