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Mental Health Center

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Domestic Violence - Topic Overview

What should you do if you're being abused? continued...

You can also see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website at to find the program nearest to you that offers shelter and legal support.

Here are some other things you can do:

  • Know your legal rights. Consider asking the police for help.
  • Make sure that you know phone numbers you can call and places you can go in an emergency.
  • Teach your children not to get in the middle of a fight.
  • If you think you may leave, make a plan to help keep you safe. This will help when you are getting ready to leave. Your plan might include:
    • Putting together and hiding a suitcase of clothing, copies of your car and house keys, money or credit cards, and important papers, such as Social Security cards and birth certificates for you and your children. Keep the suitcase hidden in your home or leave it with friends or family or at work if possible.
    • Open a savings account or get a credit card, if you can do so in secret.
    • If you are a teen, talk to a trusted adult, such as your parents, family friend, or school counselor. You can also call the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline toll-free: 1-866-331-9474.

What should you do if you know someone who is being abused?

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Be a good listener and a caring friend.
  • Remind the person that no one deserves to be treated this way.
  • Let the person know that the abuse is against the law and that help is available.
  • Help the person make a plan to stay safe.
  • You can also suggest that the person call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) to find a local domestic violence support group.

Keep in mind that the person may not want or be ready to leave. He or she probably knows the abuser best and knows what options are safest. But it is important for victims of abuse to know where they can get help.

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