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Staying Safe: If You Are in a Violent Relationship

Topic Overview

A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Making a plan will help provide for your safety and your children's safety.

Contact a local advocacy group for support, information, and advice on how to stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), or see the website at www.ndvh.org for the nearest advocacy program. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English, Spanish, and other languages.

Also, see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at www.ncadv.org/resources/state.htm to find the program nearest to you that offers shelter and legal support.

Staying safe if you are in a violent relationship

  • Try to hide guns, ammunition, knives, and any other weapons, unless hiding them creates an unsafe situation for you. If hiding the weapons isn't possible, try to make them hard to find or use.
  • When an argument occurs, go to a safe room. Avoid rooms with no exits, such as closets or bathrooms, or a room such as the kitchen with objects that can be used as weapons. Also, keep your children out of these unsafe rooms.
  • Try to have a phone available at all times. Think about hiding a prepaid cell phone to use in emergencies. If you don't have a cell phone, keep change with you at all times to make emergency phone calls.
  • Create a code word or sign that can be used to alert family, friends, teachers, or coworkers when to call for help.
  • Trust your judgment about what to do if an abusive incident is about to happen. Sometimes it's best to leave. Sometimes it's best to try to calm the abuser.
  • Make a habit of backing your car into the driveway. Make sure that there's always gas in the tank. Keep the driver's door unlocked, and lock all other doors. Have a copy of the car key made, and hide it in the car.
  • If you or your children are in danger, leave right away.
  • If leaving is not possible:
    • Try to move into safe areas of your home.
    • Make yourself physically smaller by curling into a ball and covering your head and face with your hands.
  • Consider telling neighbors about the violence, and ask that they call the police if they hear loud noises coming from the house.
  • Teach your children not to get in the middle of a fight.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as of September 5, 2013

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