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For more help with your safety and legal options, please talk to an advocate at a domestic violence program near you.

Violence: Causes and Effects in Society

For more information about intimate partner violence, please go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website. Technology and the internet can be used by offenders to embarrass, humiliate, and harm victims.


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Sexual image exploitation refers to the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. In other words, it is when someone posts online private, nude, or sexual pictures or recordings of you without your permission. Often, the person who shares the images is an ex-partner, but the offender can also be a stranger who hacked your phone, laptop, or cloud storage account. Offenders often post these images on social media platforms to embarrass and hurt the victim, or to damage their reputation.

Offenders may also use the images as a way to blackmail victims into continuing the relationship. Victims of this crime experience a great deal of trauma. More than anything else, they want the images to be taken down immediately. If you find out that your images have been shared without your permission, immediately tighten your privacy and security settings on your social media accounts. You can find links to low cost or pro bono free volunteer Attorneys on the Cyber Rights Initiative website.

If you are a victim of sexual image exploitation, please call the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Crisis Helpline at for support and advice. Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual act where threats, force or violence was used by the offender. Sexual assault also includes sexual activity when the victim cannot give consent, for example, when the victim is underage, drunk, or under the influence of drugs.

Sexual assault is a term that describes many different kinds of unwanted behaviors. This can include rape, attempted rape, fondling or touching your body without your permission, and sexual harassment or making sexual comments that make the victim feel uncomfortable.

About family violence – Domestic Violence Victoria

Sexual assault can be very distressing and traumatic. But please know that what happened to you is not your fault. You are not alone, and there are people who can help you take the first steps toward healing. For more information about sexual assault and what you can do, please visit the Office for Victims of Crime Help Series sexual violence brochure. Stalking is a serious crime. Some stalkers can get more dangerous over time and may turn violent.

Domestic abuse has increased. What can we do to help?

While a stalker can be anyone, it is usually someone that you have dated, worked with, or had some form of relationship with. If you are being stalked, it is common to feel afraid, unsafe, anxious, stressed, or angry. Please know that help is available. Stalking is when one person repeatedly follows, harasses, or behaves in a way that would make a reasonable person afraid. Stalking is a crime and can be dangerous. If you think you are unsafe, take the threats seriously. Please visit the Stalking Resource Center for more information and resources.

Older adults tend to be more vulnerable to crime than other age groups. Because they are generally more trusting, less likely to fight back, and may have memory or physical impairments, they are often the targets of crimes like robbery, burglary, financial abuse, neglect, and fraud. Unfortunately, many older adults are abused where they live.

Facing Up to Family Violence

When the victim knows the offender the person harming them — such as a caregiver, family member, intimate partner, friend, or neighbor — it can be difficult to see that behavior as abusive, and even harder to identify the behavior as a crime. But it is important to understand that elder abuse is a crime, and help is available. If you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, you can call the police or Adult Protective Services at If you or someone you know is being harmed, you can contact New York State Adult Protective Services at They can help investigate the case and offer services to protect the adult from harm.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be a victim of elder abuse, please visit the National Center On Elder Abuse for more information and resources. Looking for information about criminal court? Learn about criminal court basics or talk to a crime victim advocate near you.

Visit the NYS Social Programs website for help with housing, food, unemployment assistance, and other services. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - confidential support for people in distress: Adult Protective Services : What is Intimate Partner Violence?

What is Family Violence? What help is available for victims of Intimate Partner and Family Violence? If you need immediate help, please call the What is Sexual Image Exploitation?

This crime is also known as nonconsensual sharing of sexual images. This includes: Images that were taken without your knowledge or permission, for example, images taken through hidden cameras. Images taken with your permission as part of an intimate relationship that were meant to stay private. What can I do? When a person is being sexually assaulted by someone they know and trust, this is sexual abuse.

Why Do Victims Stay?

Sexual assault and sexual abuse are crimes, even if you are married to the abuser. What can I do if I have been sexually assaulted? If you are in immediate danger, please call They can help you decide what you can do, and where to go to get help. Contact your local rape crisis program. Often, victims of abuse are arrested and charged by law enforcement even if they are only defending themselves against the batterer.

Dissuasion by police of the victim filing charges. Some dismiss or downplay the abuse, side with the abuser, or do not take the victims account of the abuse seriously. Reluctance by prosecutors to prosecute cases. Some may convince the abuser to please to a lesser charge, thus further endangering victims. Additionally, judges rarely impose the maximum sentence upon convicted abusers. Probation or a fine is much more common.

Who does family violence affect?

Despite the issuing of a restraining order, there is little to prevent a released abuser from returning and repeating abuse. Despite greater public awareness and the increased availability of housing for victims fleeing violent partners, there are not enough shelters to keep victims safe. Some religious and cultural practices that stress that divorce is forbidden. The socialization of some made to believe they are responsible for making their relationship work.

Failure to maintain the relationship equals failure as a person. Isolation from friends and families, either by the jealous and possessive abuser, or because they feel "ashamed" of the abuse and try to hide signs of it from the outside world.

It's All About Control

The isolation contributes to a sense that there is nowhere to turn. The rationalization of the victim that their abuser's behavior is caused by stress, alcohol, problems at work, unemployment, or other factors. Societal factors that teach women to believe their identities and feelings of self-worth are contingent upon getting and keeping a man.