Relationship abuse takes many forms. Just because physical force has not been used, it does not mean you are not suffering. It also doesn’t mean that a law hasn’t been broken.

A victim may feel that the behavior of an abuser is scary or wrong, but may not realize that is actually illegal. Sometimes, cops don’t even know that the abuser is breaking the law!

You are better able to advocate for yourself with knowledge that there are laws – and thus, legal remedies – that apply to the abuse you have experienced. Below is a list of New York laws that relate to behaviors we often see in abusive situations.

  • Demands you do something you have the legal right not to do, or demands you not do something you have the legal right to do, and forces your compliance by instilling in you a fear that if the demand is not met, you or somebody else will be injured, or your property destroyed, or a crime will be committed, or you will be accused of a crime, or a secret will be exposed, whether true or false, subjecting you to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or somebody’s health, safety, business, calling, career, finances, reputation or personal relationships will be harmed in a material way without it causing benefit to the offender (Coercion in the second degree NYP135.60) Example:  You try to break up with him and he threatens to distribute nude photos of you if you do. Another example (Coercion in the third degree): He says that is you don’t have sex with him (including, oral or anal sexual conduct), he will expose a secret or publicize a fact, whether true or false, that would subject you to contempt or ridicule.
  • Films or photographs you undressing or in the bathroom or doing something sexual without your knowledge or consent (Unlawful surveillance NYP 250.45-50)
  • Distributes the material obtained through unlawful surveillance (Dissemination of unlawful surveillance NYP 250.55-60)
  • Impersonates another and does an act in an assumed character to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud (Criminal impersonation in the second degree NYP 190.25)  Example:  He creates fake e-mail accounts or social media accounts to harm you, or publishes ads impersonating you that solicit sex
  • Falsely reports that you committed a crime (Falsely reporting an Incident NYP 240.50-60)
  • Intimidates you into not testifying against him (Intimidating a victim or witness NYP 215.15-17)
  • Sends naked pictures or videos of you to an underage person (Disseminating indecent materials to minors NYP 235.21)
  • Uses your computer without permission. (Unauthorized use of a Computer, NYP 156.05)
  • Erases content on your computer (Computer tampering in the fourth degree NYP 156.20)
  • Downloads or prints out content from your computer knowing that doing so will cost you $2,500 or more in value or that content is to be used to commit a felony (Unlawful duplication of computer related material in the first degree NYP 156.30, criminal possession of computer related material NYP 156.35)
  • Tricks you into signing something (Fraudulently obtaining a signature NYP 165.20)
  • Forges your signature (Forgery NYP 170.05-15)
  • Steals your property (Criminal possession of stolen property NYP 165.40 – 54)


We help victims plan a safe escape when they are ready. We can represent you in family court to help you get an order of protection, and in civil court if you are seeking further compensation for the hell you endured. Let us know what’s going on and talk through your options here or on 646-666-8908.



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