Domestic Violence Services
What are some examples of the incidents that constitute domestic violence?
- physical acts that resulted in, or threatened to result in, physical injury to the individual;
- sexual activity involving a dependent child;
- being forced as the caretaker relative of a dependent child to engage in non-consensual sexual acts or activities;
- threats of, or attempts at, physical or sexual abuse;
- mental abuse; or
- neglect or deprivation of medical care, and
- such act or acts are or are alleged to have been committed by a family or household member.
How is the term family or household defined for determining if the situation meets the definition of domestic violence?
- persons related by blood or marriage;
- persons legally married to one another;
- persons formerly married to one another regardless of whether they still reside in the same household;
- persons who have a child in common regardless of whether such persons are married or have lived together at any time;
- unrelated persons who are continually or at regular intervals living in the same household or who have in the past continually or at regular intervals lived in the same household; or
- unrelated persons who have had intimate or continuous social contact with one another and who have access to one another’s household. Access here means accessibility to the person whether in the dwelling unit itself or elsewhere in the community.
If I believe I am a victim of domestic violence is there a program that can help me?
The YWCA of Schenectady operates a NYS licensed domestic violence program. The YWCA of Schenectady’s domestic violence program offers a confidential hotline which you can reach by dialing 518-374-3386. In addition the YWCA operates a 25 bed shelter, offers counseling services, advocacy services and crisis intervention.
What if I have no funds or cannot access funds to pay for the services?
The non-residential services (counseling, groups, advocacy and crisis intervention) are totally free of charge, the majority of victims entering the shelter meet income eligibility requirements for temporary emergency assistance provided by the department of social services. In certain situations when a victim’s income is available they will be asked to contribute to a portion of the monthly cost of the shelter expense. The DSS works with the YWCA staff in completion of the required application, service coordination and aftercare planning.
Is the information I share with the shelter or DSS confidential?
Domestic Violence services are absolutely confidential and the sharing of information about the victim, family members who are with the victim or other information about the situation is not done without the permission of the victim. The only exception to this rule is a subpoena by a court.
When can I get information about the services or receive help with shelter?
The shelter hotline and shelter services operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. In addition, emergency services from the DSS are also available on the same schedule. The advocacy services are available primarily between the hours of 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Accommodations can be made for victims who require evening hours. Applications for public assistance can be made Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
What do I do if I fear that the batterer will find me in my home county?
In collaboration with the YWCA, DSS will work through the network of providers to provide safe shelter throughout New York State or other states if necessary.
Where can I go to find out if I can be compensated as a crime victim?
Call the New York State Crime Victims Board at 1-800-247-8035. You can also find information on their website at: http://cvb.state.ny.us. Schenectady County residents may also contact the Center for Community Justice (CCJ) by dialing 518-346-1281.
Is there a way for a victim to get advanced notification of the batterers release from NYS Department of Corrections Facilities?
You may contact the “Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) at 1-800-VINE4NY or go on the Website: http://www.docs.state.ny.us/VictimSvc/vsoverview.html.
How will my application for public assistance meet my domestic violence related needs?
All applicants for assistance are screened for factors related to domestic violence. It is completely voluntary on the part of the applicant. If requested, the examiner will direct a victim to a variety of concrete services that are coordinated by a specially trained domestic violence liaison. When you meet with the DV liaison you may request that certain welfare eligibility requirements be temporarily waived until it is determined that it is safe for you to cooperate with those provisions. If eligible you will be provided with assistance to meet the cost of the temporary shelter, basic needs, and provided with Medicaid coverage to meet the cost of medical related expenses for you and the other members of your family that are part of the public assistance case.
If I was always an in home caregiver can I get assistance with finding employment and starting a career?
Yes, once you are ready to begin the process of becoming self-sufficient you will be referred to the Schenectady County Job Training Agency. At SJTA you will undergo an assessment and a self-sufficiency plan will be developed. Job counselors will work with you until you have successfully found employment. You may also be eligible for daycare to enable you to look for work, attend training and may also be provided once you have successfully secured employment.
I have pets and I am worried that they will be harmed or abandoned if I leave the batterer?
There are programs that can help you with pets once you have left the batterer. You should discuss those issues with the staff at the YWCA or with the DSS liaison to see what help you may be able to secure.
I have an old cell phone and understand that there are programs where the phones are given to victims to help keep them safe. How can I donate a used cell phone?
Yes, cell phones are modified and given to victims of DV so that they can call for emergency assistance when needed. If you have a cell phone that you would like to donate please contact the YWCA at 374-3394 for further directions.
Is there someplace I can go to get dental care needed as a result of domestic violence related injury?
You may contact “Give Back a Smile” at 1-800-773-4227.
How can I go about securing child support or medical support for my children?
The Department of Social Services provides assistance to custodial parents in securing child support for the children in their care. Those services include location investigations, paternity establishment, financial investigations, support establishment/enforcement, and support collection.
If you are applying for assistance with emergency shelter the examiner will discuss support with you and you will be interviewed by a trained support investigator. Unless you are given a temporary exemption the department will initiate action to secure child support from the non-custodial parent on behalf of your children.
If you have any questions you may contact Child Support Enforcement Office at 518-388-4319 ext. 4123.