I am writing to ask for advice on behalf of a friend whose boyfriend is verbally abusive.  I would like to suggest a place for my friend to call to get counseling.  Is there a place that I can suggest she go for help?

I have responded to letters such as yours asking about where a domestic violence victim could seek help in the past. This is an issue that is very important to me as I saw firsthand what domestic violence did to my mother and family.  As a result, I have made it a priority to be proactive in this arena, and to make sure that my domestic violence bureau prosecutes offenders vigorously, and assists victims of domestic violence in as many ways as possible.

If someone is being abused, but is not in imminent danger and is unwilling to report the abuse to the police, I suggest visiting the Family Justice Center at my office.  The Center is a safe, welcoming environment where victims and families affected by domestic violence can go to access an array of services including counseling; legal information on immigration and family court matters, including how to obtain orders of protection; access to shelter and housing; assistance in filing police reports; safety planning and services for the elderly and disabled.

Before the Center opened victims would need to travel to numerous agencies to receive these services.  Brooklyn’s Family Justice Center is located on the 15th floor of my office’s headquarters at 350 Jay Street.  Also, a children’s room called “Margaret’s Place,” funded by Joe Torre’s Safe at Homes Foundation, is available to provide on-site childcare for mothers who bring their children with them.

Although an arrest is not required to access the Center’s services, specially trained prosecutors and police officers are available to speak with anyone who wishes to do so.  Domestic violence beyond spousal abuse is addressed, including violence between intimate partners, elder abuse and crimes within the LGBTQ community.

Advocates at the Center speak several languages and represent diverse cultures. 

If you or some you know is a victim of domestic violence, and would like more information about domestic violence services, please call the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).  24-hour assistance is available in all languages.  Of course, in the case of an emergency 911 should be called immediately.

For additional information visit www.brooklynda.org.  To have your questions answered in a future column send them to asktheda@brooklynda.org