Know Your Rights When Calling 911

While Sakhi is working towards creating other ways for survivors to access support in a time of crisis, the reality today is that for many survivors, calling 911 in an emergency is the only option that they have. We know that any interaction with the police or other law enforcement carries some level of risk. We want to help survivors stay as safe as possible when they are reaching out for support from 911 or the police. To that end, you may want to consider taking a friend with you when going to the precinct, and also writing down the names of any officers you speak with. Please see below for some additional information.

  1. When you call 911, an interpreter will be available to you through Language Line
  2. You do not have to disclose your immigration or citizenship status, place of birth, or any information about how you entered the U.S.
  3. You have the right to be silent and not answer any questions you do not want to answer. You can say, “I would like to remain silent.”
  4. You have the right to say no to a search of you or your belongings without a warrant. You cannot be arrested or ticketed for refusing a search without a warrant. This may not stop the search from happening
  5. You have the right not to sign any documents that you do not understand
  6. You should provide your name and address when asked but you do not have to provide any additional information
  7. You only need to provide ID if you are being summoned or arrested. Forms of a photo ID can include, drivers license, passport, greencard
  8. You have the right to ask if you are under arrest or free to go
  9. If you are arrested, you have the right to an attorney, to an interpreter, to a phone call
  10. In New York City, police officers are required to identify themselves
  11. To File a Police Misconduct Complaint in New York City: Contact the Civilian Complaint
  12. Review Board by calling 311 or by visiting Language access is available by contacting:

Sakhi for South Asian Survivors is continuously exploring options for survivors of gender-based violence seeking safety. We appreciate the work of Dr. Soniya Munshi, our team, and the broader gender-justice movement in contributing to this section.