What is it like

New York Women's Shelter

What is it like going into a domestic violence shelter in New York?

Trained personnel will give you information on how to stay safe and where to find a shelter in your county. This is a good starting point if you are considering leaving your home at a moment’s notice. They are available 24 hours a day.

Leaving your home

This is, no doubt, a horrifying experience. It can start with a domestic violence incident in the home which lands you in the hospital ER, or it can be a case of you waiting for the opportune moment to pack a bag and run away. But what will happen to you? Will you be safe? Will your abuser find you and make your life more miserable, perhaps harm you? What will happen to your children? This article addresses some of these issues.

If you are considering leaving your home because you have been abused, first call the

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 800 799 7233.

Trained personnel will give you information on how to stay safe and where to find a shelter in your county. This is a good starting point if you are considering leaving your home at a moment’s notice. They are available 24 hours a day.

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Precaution #1

Don’t talk about your business on social media! You are giving your abuser a roadmap of where to find you. If you have a close friend or confidant, it is ok to discuss your thoughts of going into a shelter, but under no circumstances are you to tell anyone the name or location of the shelter you go to. It’s perfectly fine to speak with your friends and tell them you are ok, without giving them details of where you are. 

At The Shelter

Once you arrive at the shelter, you will meet with an intake coordinator who will gather your information and show you around. Shelters often offer a variety of services, and if they don’t have what you need, they will refer you to somewhere that does.

The main thing is you are safe. Some people don’t make it out of their homes alive. Look at the brighter side: if you’re in a shelter- you’re already one step ahead of the game.


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What are the facilities like at the domestic violence shelter?

Some domestic violence shelters in Nassau County are actually homes that the county or an organization owns for the purpose of providing shelter to victims of dv. While staying in the shelter, residents are typically provided with a private room and access to communal areas like kitchens and living rooms. The shelter staff is trained to provide emotional support and to help residents access resources they may need to rebuild their lives.

While the idea of going into a shelter may be daunting, the reality it is it can save your life- and help you get back on track. Shelters provide a safe, supportive environment.

Below are some frequently asked questions
about domestic violence shelters.

1. Are domestic violence shelters safe?

The first priority of a domestic violence shelter in Nassau County is your safety and the safety of your children. There are security measures in place, including; surveillance cameras, and trained staff to prevent unauthorized entry and provide support to residents. However, it’s important to remember that no place can guarantee absolute safety, and if you have concerns about your safety, it’s important to discuss them with the shelter staff and work with them to develop a safety plan that meets your needs.

2. Can I bring my pet into the shelter with me?

There are some shelters which allow you to bring your pet with you, provided it does not impose a safety risk for the other shelter members.  Some shelters may allow pets to accompany their owners, while others may not. Before leaving your home, if possible, do a little research by calling the different shelters in your area and asking if they take pets. If they don’t, they certainly should know where to refer you. Don’t just show up at a shelter, unannounced, with your dog. You may be turned away or asked to make other accommodations for your pet. This is something you want to be prepared for in advance.  

3. Can my abusive spouse find me in the shelter?

Most shelters prioritize the safety and privacy of their clients and take measures to keep their locations confidential. This may include not listing their address publicly, using unmarked buildings, and having security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access. However, it’s important to discuss any safety concerns you have with the shelter staff and work with them to develop a safety plan. Additionally, it’s important to take steps to protect your personal information and avoid disclosing your location to anyone who may pose a risk to your safety.

Your safety and the safety of your children are also your responsibility. This means not divulging your location to friends or on social media- this is an absolute ‘no-no’.

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4. Can my kids stay with me in the shelter?

In most cases, domestic violence shelters will allow your children to stay with you. There are some cases where this will not be possible though, such as if Child Protective Services has removed the children from your home. In this case, you will hash this out in Family Court with your lawyer.

5. How long will I be in the shelter?

The length of stay in a shelter in Nassau County can vary depending on factors such as the type of shelter, the reason for seeking shelter, and the availability of resources. The shelter you stay in will help you find more permanent housing, and also connect you with the Nassau County Dept. of Social Services for further resources and assistance. You can get rental assistance if you qualify. The shelter will not throw you out in the street!

6. Does the shelter help me find permanent housing when I leave, if I need it?

Yes. Shelters in Nassau County often work closely with the Department of Social Services to ensure you have a roadmap moving forward. This can include obtaining temporary assistance for food and rent, as well as help training for and finding a job, as well as a place to stay.

Domestic Violence and Family/Criminal Court

Oftentimes domestic violence can involve the courts. For example, if you are in your home with your spouse and children, and your spouse beats you, you may call 911. The alleged perpetrator of the violence, if there is sufficient probable cause, will be arrested on the spot. This will be the start of a criminal case against your spouse for Domestic Violence. Usually, in cases like this, the court will issue an Order of Protection against your spouse to stay away from you and your children until further court dates.  Child Protective Services will also become involved, and start its own investigation. They are predominantly looking for any signs of child abuse or neglect that may accompany domestic violence.   

Can I be accused of Child Abuse or Neglect by CPS, if my spouse has been abusing me?

Yes, you can. Even if you are not the perpetrator of the abuse, if it has been going on for a period of time, and you did not take steps to stop it or shield your child from witnessing the abuse, you could be the target of a CPS Investigation and potentially have your children removed from your care.

Why can I get into trouble if my spouse was the one abusing me?

The reason you could end up getting into trouble is because you have a duty to protect your child. This means not allowing your child to suffer emotional abuse by witnessing recurring acts of violence against you. A Family Court judge may find you guilty of neglect or maltreatment. Depending on the severity of the effects on the child, the court may order you into counseling as well as remove your children from your care.

If you are married or in a relationship, have children that live with you, and are the victim of domestic violence, you should consult with a family court lawyer immediately before things escalate. The lawyer can advise you of your options and help you prepare for what might turn out to be a big storm.

Domestic Violence Programs in Nassau County

Domestic Harmony Foundation

Partner With Community Chest South Shore

(516) 385-8292 

Provides non-residential domestic violence services.

The Domestic Harmony Foundation (DHF) is a community-based, non-profit organization created in response to the social, emotional, and psychological needs of a growing South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Muslim community in Long Island. Although DHF works mainly with Muslim women who are victims of domestic violence, these services are available to individuals irrespective of creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. (Taken from websitehttps://dhfny.org )

The Safe Center of LI



Provides both residential and non-residential domestic violence services

To protect, assist and empower victims of family violence and sexual assault while challenging and changing social systems that tolerate and perpetuate abuse.

. (Taken from websitehttps://www.safehorizon.org)

Safe Horizon



Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization, operating a network of programs across New York City communities and systems. We work with survivors of all forms of violence, including racism, to move from crisis to confidence. (Taken from website– https://www.safehorizon.org)

Nassau Haven

Jestin Jennings, AVP
Call (516) 221-1310 or Text (516) 427-9354 

24-hour care for Long Island’s most vulnerable youth

Nassau Haven is a 12-bed gender-inclusive emergency shelter, providing short-term housing, case management and crisis intervention to runaway and homeless youth in Nassau County. Since 1982, Nassau Haven has served young people ages 10 to 20, helping them address the issues that brought them to seek shelter. (Taken from website-http://fcali.org/programs-and-services/residential-care/nassau-haven-emergency-youth-shelter)

Bethany House


Provides shelter and  other support programs

Bethany House provides a safe place for healing and personal growth for women, and women with children, experiencing homelessness. It is built on a foundation of community support to provide a continuum of care, from uncertainty to stability. Through our partnerships, we provide the women in our programs with trama informed services, in-house and community based health services, and case management focused on securing educational and employment growth opportunities and a path to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. We strive for our guests and their children to experience a sense of self-worth and belonging in response to their experience with our dedicated staff and volunteers. (Taken from websitehttps://www.bhny.org)