The BE SAFE program, led by Heather Summers, Director of Domestic Violence Services, is located atErie County District Attorney's Office incity Court Buffalo,50 Delaware Avenue, 4. Stock, Buffalo, New York 14202. Staff can be contacted by phone at(716) 858-4630, 8:30 p.m. m. to 5:00 p.m. m., Monday to Friday. If you receive a court date, please contact our victims' attorneys by phone.
Victim advocates in our BE SAFE program specialize in defending in criminal courts. Although housed within the Erie County District Attorney's Office, it is a distinct and separate advocacy program. BE SAFE Advocates works with all survivors of domestic violence, regardless of race, age, gender or sexual orientation and whether or not they have a criminal case.
The attorneys are located in the Buffalo City Court and the Erie County Court Domestic Violent Crimes Division.
BE SAFE recognizes the impact of the trauma of domestic violence on a person's life. Our goal is to provide support, resources, and safety planning to survivors of intimate partner violence.
Services offered by attorneys include:
- Legal assistance and defense
- Support Counseling, Crisis Intervention and Case Management
- Individual safety planning and risk assessment.
- Information and recommendations on various programs.
- At your request, act as a liaison between the client and the Assistant District Attorney
- General advocacy services for medical, housing, employment and financial needs
- BE SAFE8:30 a. m. a 5:00 p. m. (716-858-4630)
- Education/training and outreach for community and law enforcement personnel on a variety of topics
- Application assistance for the New York State Office of Victim Services and Address Confidentiality Program
- Assist in the compilation, duplication, and distribution of Victim Impact Statements
- VINE Program Registry for Offender Release Information
- Bilingual Spanish-speaking attorneys available
BE SAFE IN THE COMMUNITY
BE SAFE offers free outreach and training for professionals, police officers, judges and community members on a variety of topics related to domestic violence.
If you are involved in the criminal justice system, we understand that you may not be ready to press criminal charges. Our attorneys can help explain options to ensure your safety. The attorneys will help you through every stage of your case, from the indictment and grand jury to trial and sentencing.
A SAFETY PLAN is a tool that allows victims of domestic violence to assess their options and reduce the risk of further abuse. Leaving an abusive relationship can increase your risk and requires planning. If at any time you feel unsafe or want to discuss a safety plan, please contact Advocates for assistance.
PLEASE NOTE: Anyone can seek the help of a BE SAFE attorney. You do not need to have a pending criminal case to access the Services. Newcomers are welcome.
Click HERE to access our BE SAFE Brochure and Safety Plan
Click HERE to access our brochure in Spanish
What is domestic violence?
Domestic Violence (DV) is a pattern of coercive control and behavior that can include physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, economic/financial, and/or sexual abuse committed by one person to gain power and control over another person within a family. to achieve and maintain an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can occur between spouses, intimate partners, family members, and in dating relationships. It can occur in both heterosexual and gay/lesbian relationships. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, education level, religion, or economic status. The young and the elderly can also experience these forms of abuse.
How do I know if what I am experiencing is domestic violence?
The following checklist of signs and indications of abuse will not do this.absoluteDetermine if your relationship is abusive, but if one or more of these apply, you may be at higher risk of continued violence.
Signs of an abusive partner include:
- Physical abuse including punching, slapping, choking, punching, kicking, hair grabbing, being held against your will, and/or using or threatening to use any weapon.
- He pressures you early on for a relationship.
- Shows jealous, controlling or possessive behaviour, e.g. B. limiting your behavior towards friends and/or family, picking up your phone to see your call log, or making false accusations against you;
- Is verbally abusive: scolds or puts you down.
- Blames others for their problems, does not take responsibility or minimizes their actions.
- drowns you or hangs you;
- attack her while she is pregnant;
- Threatens to harm self, children, or pets.
- Control your money or access to bank accounts. I don't want you to work
- Stalks you, follows you, violates your protective/investigative order.
- Destroy your property.
- Forces you to have sex when you don't want to.
- Use the children against you. For example, using them to forward messages, threatening to keep them away from you, or threatening to call CPS on you.
- It makes you feel like you are "walking on eggshells" and that nothing is ever good enough.
How does domestic violence affect children?
- seeing a parent being verbally attacked or humiliated.
- listening and/or observing noisy conflicts or violence.
- see the consequences of an abusive incident (for example, injuries).
- find out what happened to their parents.
- being used by an abusive parent as part of the abuse.
- see a father abuse hisnuevovisiting partners.
- denied what they are owed for child support.
KIDS MAKE MORE THAN EASYEXPERIENCE THE ABUSE
- referee between parents;
- trying to save an injured father;
- Try to draw the offender's attention to them;
- distract the offender in any way;
- Attempting to physically intervene or defend the abused parent;
- Taking care of younger siblings during the abuse;
- You may be forced to participate in violence;
- You may be taken hostage during the incident;
- Seek outside help (eg, call 911 or run to a neighbor's house).
Abuse can occur in different types of relationships:
Older adults may experience abuse from a partner or family member.
Forms of abuse include:·Physical, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual and neglect
Abuse or mistreatment can be a crime. If it is an emergency or could be dangerous, call 911.
Adult Protective Services– If you need protection or know someone who needs it, call your local Adult Protection Office within the Department of Social Services. The number is also available by calling 1-800-342-3009 (press option 6) or visit theErie County Adult Protective Services website.
Locally, you can contact the Senior Law & Justice Center at (716) 853-3087.
A perpetrator can use his partner's disability to harm him by withholding aids or medicines; or you may deceive the police or others by misrepresenting the information. People with disabilities face risks such as: lack of transportation, interpreters and housing.
ABUSE IN LGBTQ RELATIONSHIPS
Intimate partner violence can occur regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Other ways LGBTQ people can be abused include: threatening to reveal your sexual orientation, making you feel bad about your identity, alienating you from the LGBTQ community, and preventing you from taking hormone therapy drugs to get them.
ABUSE OF IMMIGRANT SURVIVORS
Whether you are an undocumented or undocumented person, you have the right to be free from abuse. Immigrant survivors often feel trapped due to immigration status and laws, language barriers, social isolation, and lack of financial resources. For specialized assistance, you can call the Buffalo International Institute at (716) 883-1900.
ABUSE IN YOUTH DATA RELATIONSHIPS
Teen dating abuse is based on maintaining power and control over others through emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Tactics may include: excessive texting/calling, pressuring you for sex, being jealous/possessive, harassing you on social media, or isolating you from friends/family. You have the option of getting a protective order from the family court or calling the police. Making these decisions can be scary, so talk to a lawyer about your options.
Abuse is difficult to detect because it can be surrounded by periods of quiet. This cycle gives us hope that our partner/family member will change, but it soon leads to an escalation of abuse.
PROCEDURAL AND CRIMINAL PROTECTION CODES
Why did the police make an arrest?
When the police are called, they must determine if this is the case.probable cause, or evidence sufficient that an incident occurred to warrant an arrest.mandatory arrestit means that the police have probable cause and the offender should be arrested. New York State will then press charges.
If the perpetrator left the scene of the crime and an arrest has NOT been made, the police must issue you a police report or warrant card. If you live in the City of Buffalo and wish to file a criminal complaint, you should bring this card to the Family Justice Center at 438 Main Street, Suite 201, Buffalo, NY. Monday-Friday 9am-3:30pm or call (716) 553-7233.https://fjcsafe.org/
The judge issues an order of protection (OP) or injunction that designates you as a protected party. Although your name is written, it is a court order and only the judge can change it. There are two types of protection orders:
- No Contact/Stay Away Protection Order – Orders the defendant to stay away from you and not to contact you by phone, mail, or third parties.
- Non-offensive contact protective order: The defendant may be near you, but must refrain from harassing, threatening, or physical behavior toward you.
Learn more about the Arrest to Sentence Court Process Form
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to compensation from the New York State Office of Victim Services for certain costs you incur as a result of the crime.Learn more about the New York State Office of Victim Services and your rights as a crime victim
FAMILY COURT OPTIONS
As a victim of domestic or intimate partner violence, you also have the option of requesting a protective order from the family court.Click here to learn more about your civil law rights and options.
After an arrest, it is very common for the defendant to try to contact you in person, by phone, or through a third party. The defendant may contact you from prison in violation of a protection order. If the defendant contacts you, he should call 911 immediately. You can also do the following:
- Change your phone number or control your calls.
- Document the dates/times of the bullying in a small calendar or notebook.
- Contact a BE SAFE attorney at 858-4630 to notify the prosecutor's office after calling the police.
- Go to the Family Justice Center for help (438 Main St. Suite 201, Buffalo, NY).
- Take any letters the defendant wrote against the warrants to the police or the prosecutor's office.
You may also apply for the New York State Address Confidentiality Program.
Be SAFE advocates can help you with your application. Click for more information
The Erie County District Attorney's Office is part of a collaboration with other non-residential domestic violence service providers that have created a new crisis response plan to optimize domestic violence services in Erie County.
BE SAFE is a New York State licensed non-residential domestic violence service provider and prohibits discrimination, harassment and bullying in all forms. Services are provided without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, marital status, or disability.
Erie County Sheriff's Department
A victim's reasons for staying with their abusers are extremely complex and, in most cases, are based on the reality that their abuser will follow through with the threats they have used to keep them trapped: the abuser will hurt or kill them, they will hurt or kill the kids, they will win custody of the children, they ...What is the best way to help a victim? ›
- Listen: If possible, find a time and place that is safe and confidential to talk to your friend/family member. ...
- Offer support: Let them know they are not alone and that no one deserves to be hurt. ...
- Provide resources: Encourage them to reach out to community resources.
What Is the Violence Against Women Act? The Violence Against Women Act is a comprehensive legislative package designed to improve criminal justice responses to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and to increase the availability of services for victims and survivors.Who are the victims at greater risk for abuse? ›
More than 90% of these victims are female, and 5-10% are male. 15% are black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME). 4% are disabled. 1% are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT).What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse? ›
- They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
- They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
- They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
- They are Manipulative. ...
- They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.What are the three C's of helping a victim in need? ›
The Three C's of First Aid - Check, Call, and Care.What are 5 ways to lose the victim mentality? ›
- 1 – Recognize Martyrdom in Yourself. ...
- 2 – Forgive Others. ...
- 3 – Forgive Yourself. ...
- 4 – Meditate or Pray. ...
- 5 – Manage your Mood. ...
- 6 – Find a Victor's Mantra. ...
- 7 – Take Action.
- Listen. Sometimes you don't even need words (or at least not a lot of words), to be there for someone. ...
- Validate. ...
- Ask what more you can do to help. ...
- Know where to point someone to for more help. ...
- Keep an open heart. ...
- Finally, care for yourself.
It takes an average of 15–40 months (or about 1–3 years) for USCIS to process and approve VAWA green cards. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.
Penalties for Violating the VAWA
If he or she uses a dangerous weapon during the offense or if his or her spouse suffers a serious bodily injury as a result, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. In any other case, the maximum penalty is five years in prison.
Violence against women and girls takes many different forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, child, early and forced marriage, sex trafficking, so called 'honor' crimes and female genital mutilation.Who is the most vulnerable to be a victim? ›
- People with children.
- Young people.
- Older people.
- Pregnant people.
- People with disability and impairment.
- People with mental illness.
Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon. Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.What is the most serious form of abuse? ›
Emotional abuse may be the most damaging form of maltreatment due to causing damage to a child's developing brain affecting their emotional and physical health as well as their social and cognitive development (Heim et al. 2013).What are signs of narcissistic abuse? ›
- You feel worthless or useless. ...
- You no longer recognize yourself. ...
- You question your reality. ...
- You are isolated from friends and family. ...
- Other people are brought into the abuse. ...
- You experience physical changes in your body.
mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. eating disorders. self-harm. language development.What are 4 signs someone has been mentally abused? ›
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem.
- Difficulties controlling emotions.
- Extreme behaviour, like becoming overly demanding, aggressive, having outbursts, or becoming passive.
- Difficulties making and maintaining relationships.
- Behaviour that is inappropriately infantile or adult-like.
A typical reaction of the brain to abuse
Oxytocin – Bonds the victim to their abuser. Endogenous opioids – Pain, pleasure, dependence, and withdrawal. Corticotropin-releasing factor – Stress, withdrawal. Dopamine – Wanting, craving seeking.
Emotional abuse is linked to thinning of certain areas of the brain that help you manage emotions and be self-aware — especially the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe. Epigenetic changes and depression. Research from 2018 has connected childhood abuse to epigenetic brain changes that may cause depression.
Victims of domestic violence experience diminished self-worth, anxiety, depression, and a general sense of helplessness that can take time and often professional help to overcome.What are the ABC's one checks for when helping a victim? ›
For someone unresponsive, first, try to know ABC. ABC stands for airway, breathing, and circulation.What are the ABC's of victim assessment? ›
The Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure (ABCDE) approach is a systematic approach to the immediate assessment and treatment of critically ill or injured patients.What are the 4 first aid goals when helping a victim? ›
The goals of a first aid provider include preserving life, alleviating suffering, preventing further illness or injury, and promoting recovery. First aid can be initiated by anyone in any situation and includes self-care.How do you deal with a narcissistic victim? ›
- Try not to take it personally. This is never easy, but with practice you can do it.
- Don't take the bait. If possible, walk away every time they treat you like the bad guy.
- Don't internalize it. ...
- Don't idealize them. ...
- Don't engage.
- Set firm boundaries. One of the toughest parts of dealing with victim mentality can be the fear of blame. ...
- Offer solutions. Though they might not seem open to it, you can find ways to try and offer help. ...
- Don't label. ...
- Encourage and validate. ...
- Think about their perspective.
In relationships, gaslighters play the victim in order to manipulate and guilt their partners into doing their will. On a global stage, when gaslighter "plays the role" of a victim, it takes on a different tone.What are some support strategies? ›
There are three categories of support strategies – direct assisted support, indirect assisted support, and self service – which may be combined.What are the three common goals of the victims rights movement? ›
To that end, the newly conceptualized victims' rights movement centered around three major goals: guaranteeing victim participation in criminal proceedings, securing financial benefits and services for crime victims, and more expeditious punishment of perpetrators. As legal scholar Robert P.What tactics can you use for yourself and family to prevent becoming a victim? ›
- Keep personal information private. ...
- Protect passwords, PINs, and usernames. ...
- Keep your eyes on your billing statements. ...
- Invest in a shredder. ...
- Don't answer the door for strangers and keep your doors and windows locked. ...
- Let people know if you are going out of town.
VAWA petitions filed within 2 years of the divorce must include evidence that the marriage was legally terminated, such as a final divorce decree or annulment and that the termination was connected to the battery or extreme cruelty.Do they interview for VAWA? ›
At the interview, the USCIS officer will ask you questions to confirm whether you are eligible to receive a green card, but the officer usually will not ask questions about the abuse you suffered.How do you win a VAWA case? ›
As a VAWA petitioner, you must submit documents proving that the marriage was bona fide, showing you are of good moral character, as well as that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident abused you (physically and/or mentally) during the marriage.How much evidence is needed for VAWA? ›
The VAWA requires proof that you lived with the abuser. Leases that include both of your names, shared utility bills, notes from your landlord or neighbors, school records and other documents that include both of your names can be used as evidence.What percentage of VAWA cases approved? ›
(70 % or 6,412 petitions approved and 30% or 2,712 petitions denied).Can I travel if my VAWA is approved? ›
o No, please strongly advise against travel. Your client can be barred from applying to adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident if they have accrued unlawful presence and leave the United States. Deferred action does not permit an individual to re-enter the United States lawfully if they were to leave.Is a woman's right to live free from violence? ›
A woman's right to live free from violence is upheld by international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.What are the 5 vulnerable people? ›
- 5.1 Children. Children are more vulnerable to malnutrition, disease and abuse than adults, and are overrepresented among the poor (UNICEF & World Bank, 2016). ...
- 5.2 Women and girls. ...
- 5.3 Older people. ...
- 5.4 People with disabilities.
A person is vulnerable if they can't protect themselves from harm or exploitation due to their personal or situational circumstances.What is an example of a vulnerable victim? ›
Vulnerable victims, such as women and children, often faced difficulty in seeking assistance, particularly when their cases involved sexual violence.
- 1) Domestic abuse is more than just physical or sexual violence. ...
- 2) Both women and men can be victims. ...
- 3) There are many warning signs of abuse. ...
- 4) Abuse is never the victim's fault. ...
- 5) Help is available.
All kinds of trauma create stress reactions. People often say that their first feeling is relief to be alive after a traumatic event. This may be followed by stress, fear and anger. Trauma may also lead people to find they are unable to stop thinking about what happened.Who has the highest rate of domestic abuse? ›
Oklahoma has the highest rate of domestic violence in the United States. Nearly 49.1% of women and 40.7% of men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Violence cases typically include intimate partner rape, physical abuse, and intimate partner stalking.Who is the most common abuser? ›
1 The adult may be a relative, caregiver, step-parent, religious figure, coach, or babysitter, though the majority of perpetrators are parents of the child. In the United States, children experience child abuse or neglect at a rate of 8.9 per 1,000 children.What 3 types of abuse should always be reported? ›
Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are some of the most known types of abuse: Physical abuse is when someone hurts another person's body. It includes hitting, shaking, burning, pinching, biting, choking, throwing, beating, and other actions that cause physical injury, leave marks, or cause pain.What is the first form of abuse? ›
Physical abuse is one of the first forms of violence people think of when they hear the words domestic violence. Physical abuse is slightly easier to recognize because it is harder to disguise, and often more overt than emotional abuse.Why do victims become attached to their abusers? ›
Victims of abuse often develop a strong sense of loyalty towards their abuser, despite the fact that the bond is damaging to them. Conditions necessary for trauma bonding to occur include: To be threatened with, and to believe, that there is real danger. Harsh treatment interspersed with very small kindnesses.What are at least 3 different consequences of victimization? ›
The impact and consequences of criminal victimization can involve physical injury, financial loss, and property damage, as well as psychological and emotional after-effects.What are three examples of blaming the victim? ›
- “You had to know what was going to happen if you went up to that person's apartment.”
- “You shouldn't have been drinking.”
- “You must have sent mixed messages.”
- “Was your door even locked?”
- “What were you wearing?”
- “How hard did you try to stop it?”
They may believe that going to the police will place them in further danger or that what happened is "not important enough" to report. If they know the offender, they may be reluctant to "cause trouble." Or they may doubt the willingness or ability of police to help, or to believe their account.
Breaking a trauma bond starts with identifying the 7 stages of trauma bonding, which encompasses gaslighting, love bombing, emotional addiction, criticism, loss of self, trust and dependency, and resigning to control. It is important to understand how these stages develop in a toxic and abusive relationship.What are 3 signs of a trauma bond? ›
- An abuse victim covers up or makes excuses to others for an abuser's behavior.
- An abuse victim lies to friends or family about the abuse.
- A victim doesn't feel comfortable with or able to leave the abusive situation.
- An abuse victim thinks the abuse is their fault.
Stockholm syndrome is a coping mechanism to a captive or abusive situation. People develop positive feelings toward their captors or abusers over time. This condition applies to situations including child abuse, coach-athlete abuse, relationship abuse and sex trafficking.What are 2 psychological effects of violence on the victim? ›
The consequences of violence include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, substance use disorders, sleep and eating disorders, and suicide.What are 5 example of victimization? ›
Forms of victimization include (but are not limited to) bullying or peer victimization, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, robbery, and assault. Some of these forms of victimization are commonly associated with certain populations, but they can happen to others as well.What are the three stages of victimization? ›
The three phases are called impact, recoil, and reorganization. The crisis reaction is as necessary to the recovery of the victim as is the period of healing after a physical wound.What do attackers look for in a victim? ›
Attackers search for women who appear frightened, confused or distracted. They look for women who walk with their head down and their hands stuffed in their pockets, or perhaps one who is overburdened with packages or distracted by children. “Remember that attackers do not want to bait a fight; they want an easy mark.What is an example of victim shaming? ›
What Does Victim-Blaming Look Like? Example of Victim-Blaming Attitude: “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change.” Reality: This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser.What is the root of victim blaming? ›
Walster (1966) has suggested that the reason we victim blame is to try and keep ourselves safe and that victim blaming is a self-protective technique used by many. The theory behind victim blaming is that we, as humans, don't like to think that it is possible for such traumatic, uncontrollable events to happen to us.What are the two types of victimization? ›
- Sexual Misconduct.
- Sexual Touching.
- Sexual Harassment.
- Physical Assault/Battery.
- Dating/Relationship/Domestic Violence.
The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay. The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy. The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.