What to do if…

If you are in a bad relationship?

Discuss Your Concern – It is never too late to make your feelings clear with your partner. If expressing your concerns leads to more abuse, get help.

Trust Your Gut – If you have concerns about someone you’re dating or want to date, trust your feelings. If the person refuses to discuss your concerns, you should not go with them.

Believe in Yourself – It’s common to question whether the abuse took place, whether it was really "that bad", and whether it was your fault. But it’s important to stand by your feelings. If you feel you were abused, then you were abused.

Break the Silence

  • Talk to someone. Tell a parent, a friend, a trusted adult, the school nurse, a doctor.
  • Call National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
  • Call The Rape and Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE
  • If you’ve been physically or sexually hurt, get medical attention
  • If you fear you’ll be hurt, call the police
  • Consider getting a legal protection order
  • Consider getting counseling, even if the abuse happened long ago

Think of Your Safety – Abusive relationships tend to get worse, not better. Resist the temptation to give the person "one more chance." Realize that by the time you are asked for "one more chance" you have likely already given your partner numerous chances. Refuse to take phone calls and to return messages from the abuser.

Develop a Personalized Safety Plan – Safety is the freedom from abuse, danger, and harm, as well as freedom from the threat of harm. Planning for safety is important whether leaving the abusive partner is temporary or permanent.

  • In the event of an argument, try to position yourself near an exit.
  • Have a bag packed with clothes, keys, and important papers accessible for if you ever have to leave quickly.
  • Decide where you will go if you have to leave.
  • Devise a code word with others, like family and neighbors, when you need the police.
  • Have a safety plan at work if possible.

On the resource page, you will be able to find links to pages that have tips for more specialized safety plans.

Get a Protection Order – A Protection Order is a civil order that can order an abuser to stop harming you, and stop contacting you.

  • If you are under 18, you may be able to get a protection order with the help of an adult!
  • If there are children involved, a protection order will give you temporary custody of your children, as well as give you temporary possession of your residence.
  • You can get a protection order against anyone related to you, with whom you live/used to live with, and anyone with whom you are/used to be intimately involved with.
  • However, always CALL THE POLICE. Having a protection order does not guarantee your safety if the abuser does not obey the protection order.

Again, on the resource page, you will be able to find links to pages that contains more information on what a Protection Order is and how to get one.

What can I do to help a friend?

  • Believe your friend. Victims need to know they will not be doubted, or blamed for the abuse. Assure your friend of confidentiality.
  • Support your friend. It’s not always easy to admit there’s a problem.
  • Get information from the local domestic violence program
  • Be there for your friend as your friend goes through the hard work of questioning and making decisions. Encourage your friend to get help and get out of the relationship
  • Suggest options for your friend. Often, a victim of abuse will feel there are no choices. Help your friend think of ways to overcome fears and concerns.
  • Know when you are in "over your head" and seek professional help from the community. Your life as well as the life of your friend is important.