Domestic Violence – What Can I DO to Help?
Domestic violence and teen dating abuse harm millions of people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But no one deserves abuse. These key Habits to Have® will help you identify abuse, seek help if you need it, reach out if you suspect someone else is being abused, help your teens avoid abusive partners and teach your kids the importance of respectful relationships.
1. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline/National Dating Abuse Helpline.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Dating Abuse Helpline both offer anonymous and confidential help 24 hours a day. At the Hotline, operators provide referrals to local support organizations, crisis information, safety planning and information about domestic violence. At the Helpline, peer advocates provide real-time one-on-one support via phone, text and chat. The Hotline and Helpline can also provide resources and referrals to people who are worried about someone else. Call1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or visit http://www.ndvh.org for the Hotline, or call 1.866.331.9474, text “loveis” to 22522 or chat online at loveisrespect.org for the Helpline.
2. Know the warning signs.
Sometimes it can be hard for victims of abuse to identify their relationship as abusive, particularly when the abuse is emotional or verbal. Recognizing abuse can be especially difficult for teens who are new to dating and relationships. But if you know the signs and learn to trust your instincts, it will be easier to identify abuse and seek help for yourself or a friend. Read What Is Domestic Violence(http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/) from the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Is This Abuse? (http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/is-this-abuse) from Loveisrespect.org.
3. Know you are not to blame.
Abusers often blame victims for provoking violence and then use shame to keep them in the abusive relationship. Know that no matter what your abuser says or does, no one deserves to be hurt—physically, sexually or emotionally. You deserve a healthy, violence- and abuse-free relationship.
4. Talk to teens about healthy relationships.
Though teen dating violence affects one out of three teens, most parents never talk to their kids about dating abuse. Only 28 percent of teens say they have talked to their moms about dating abuse, while just 13 percent say they’ve had a dating abuse conversation with their dads, according to a survey of teens conducted by Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. It’s important to talk to teens about the red flags of dating abuse, but it’s even more important to talk to them early and often about healthy relationships. To get started, use this healthy-relationship primer (http://www.loveisrespect.org/dating-basics/healthy-relationships) from Loveisrespect.
5. Reach out to the victim.
If you suspect a friend or loved one is being abused, start asking questions and offer your support. The victim may not be ready to talk about the situation, but knowing there is someone who cares about his or her well-being is important. Be careful not to judge or condemn the person for staying in the relationship, but let him or her know you are concerned and can help if asked.
If you are a parent, follow these tips for how to talk to your son or daughter about your concerns, (http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/help-others/help-your-chil) (link may be broken?)
If you are a friend, take this (http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/help-others/how-would-you-help-quiz) to test how ready and willing you are to help.
6. Make a personal safety plan.
Developing a safety plan will get you thinking about how you might escape a dangerous situation and help you make fast, safe decisions if you find yourself in a dangerous situation with an abuser. Use the interactive guide, (http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/safety-planning) to get started. If you are a teen or want to help a teen, download A Teen’s Guide to Safety Planning (http://www.loveisrespect.org/pdf/Teen-Safety-Plan.pdf).
7. Talk to your health care provider.
Often, the doctor’s office is the only place an abuse victim is allowed unsupervised, and this relationship can be an important lifeline. Know that your health care provider will not judge you or be critical of you if you share your story of abuse. Talk to your health care provider about local shelters and support organizations.
8. Have a financial safety plan.
If you are an adult in an abusive relationship, you may be financially dependent upon your abuser. Building some financial independence will make it easier for you to leave an abusive situation. Find a way to safely put aside some money for yourself. Even if all you can save is bus fare, knowing you have that will allow you to escape when you need to. Open or keep accounts or credit cards in your own name in order to protect your assets and independence and allow you to establish credit once you leave.
Learn more at clicktoempower.org(http://www.clicktoempower.org/).