By Silvia Echevarria-Doan, PH.D. LMFT, LCSW
Founder & Therapist, The Alma Therapy Institute, LLC in Gainesville, FL
Associate Professor, Emeritus, Counselor Education, University of Florida
The realization that you are being abused can be overwhelming and distressing. The main goal is to find ways to keep yourself SAFE by reaching out and planning ahead. (Safety planning includes your children, of course, if there are children involved.) The following resources will provide you with important information and connect you to people who can help you make decisions and create a SAFETY PLAN that is specific to you and your family’s needs. Remember, abuse is not your fault. It can happen to anyone. Help is waiting.
Here are some immediate steps to consider:…
- Make a commitment to take care of yourself (and your children).
- Tell friends you trust, and gain support of witnesses when you can.
- Phone 911 if your partner becomes physically abusive.
- Keep notes of dates, times, and details of each occurrence.
- Contact a domestic violence hotline or shelter and:
- Talk to an advocate or counselor;
- Attend individual or group counseling sessions;
- Explore your legal rights;
- Make safety arrangements.
Where to Get Help
Get Help –From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
This document will help you safely leave a dangerous situation, create a safety plan, get help from the police, and access resources.
Get Help For Yourself –From Love is Respect
Not sure what to do now? Visit this page to chat with, text, or call a trained peer counselor at Love is Respect.
Path to Safety–From the The National Domestic Violence Hotline
This page explains safety planning in great detail.
Personal Safety Plan–From the National Domestic Hotline
This page provides you with an example of a safety plan and all that it entails.
Leaving a Relationship–From the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Practical tips on how to safely leave an abusive relationship.
Leaving an Emotional Abusive Relationship—From Break the Cycle
For people experiencing emotional abuse.
If You Are Being Abused –From the National Network to End Domestic Violence
Ways to get support and ensure safety.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (n.d.) What is domestic violence?
Retrieved from http://www.ncadv.org/need-help/what-is-domestic-violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline. (n.d.). What is safety planning? Retrieved from http://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/
National Domestic Hotline. (2015). Personal safety plan. Retrieved from http://www.thehotline.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Hotline-personalsafetyplan.pdf
Project SAFE. (n.d.) Intimate terrorism vs. situational couple violence. Retrieved from http://www.project-safe.org/domestic-violence/