People who are trained in helping victims of D.V. Understand that being in any kind of violent relationship creates similar problems and emotional stress. You can get help regardless of the type of abuse you have endured. Help can be found at mental health clinics, women's shelters and in hospitals.
Increasing Safety while Still in the Relationship
Keep important phone numbers (police, domestic violence hotlines or shelters, family, friends) with you at all times and always have change for a phone call. Tell as many people as you can (friends, family, people at work or school) about the violence and ask them to call the police if they ever think you are in danger. Develop code words to use with friends and family when you are in immediate danger. Make a list of several places you could go to be safe if you needed to get away in a hurry. Find a person or place where you can leave emergency money, keys and clothes. Join a support group for victims of dating and domestic violence. Update, review and practice your safety plan regularly.
Increasing Safety When Leaving the Relationship or When the Relationship Is Over
Go to court to get a restraining order and give copies of the order to the police, your school, your workplace or any other place where you spend time. Keep a copy with you at all times. Tell the people close to you about the violence and that you are no longer in the relationship, and ask them to look out for you and get help if they ever think you are in danger. If possible, change any locks in your house that the abuser has keys to. Make an escape plan in case you are in danger and have to leave home suddenly. Try not to be alone in isolated areas. Find someone you feel comfortable talking to when you need some extra support or are afraid you might go back to the abuser. Join a support group for victims of dating and domestic violence.
If you leave your home, take these items:
Social Security card or driver's license
Money, checks or credit cards
A change of clothes for you and your children
All needed medications
Any papers you need for school or work
Photos and any other item you will need to make your life a little easier
Never go back to retrieve possessions after leaving. Everything else can be replaced.