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Legal Information: New York

Restraining Orders

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November 9, 2020

What is the legal definition of domestic violence ("family offenses") in New York?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a civil order of protection (which is often obtained in family court). To get an order of protection, you must allege that the abuser committed one or more “family offenses” against you. (The petition for an order of protection is called a “family offense petition.”) The following crimes are considered to be family offenses when the victim and abuser are/were related by blood, marriage, in an intimate relationship, or they have a child in common:

  1. Disorderly conduct
  2. Harassment (1st degree, 2nd degree)
  3. Aggravated harassment (2nd degree)
  4. Stalking (1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, 4th degree)
  5. Menacing (2nd degree, 3rd degree)
  6. Reckless endangerment (1st degree, 2nd degree)
  7. Assault (2nd degree, 3rd degree)
  8. Attempted assault
  9. Criminal mischief (1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, 4th degree)
  10. Sexual misconduct
  11. Forcible touching
  12. Sexual abuse (2nd degree, 3rd degree)
  13. Strangulation (1st degree, 2nd degree)
  14. Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation
  15. Identity theft (1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree)
  16. Grand larceny (3rd degree, 4th degree)
  17. Coercion (2nd degree, 3rd degree) - Note: only subsections (1), (2), (3) of the crime of coercion in the third degree (NY Penal Law § 135.60) are included as a family offense.1

Note: A petition for an order of protection cannot be dismissed or denied based only on the fact that the incident(s) you allege happened a while before you applied for the order.2

1 NY Fam Ct Act § 812(1)
2 NY Fam Ct Act § 812(1); NY Dom Rel Law § 240(3)(e)