THE BRONX - Advocates against domestic violence are encouraging victims to reach out for help and utilize the many services offered across New York City.

Domestic violence expert Beth Ann Holzhay says there are several important steps people can take to ensure their safety. First, she says people should pack an emergency bag containing important documents that may be needed in a legal situation. Secondly, Holzhay suggests those at risk should surround themselves with people in similar situations to achieve strength in numbers.

She says people should also never be afraid to reach out.

The city offers a variety of helpful services, including a 24-hour hotline for abuse victims known as Safe Horizon. The organization can be reached at 1-800-621-HOPE.