If You're Experiencing Abuse
If you are in an abusive relationship, you have many options. You can decide to end the relationship, because you are scared or because you deserve better than to be in a relationship where someone hurts you. If you are not ready to end the relationship, or you want to stay and try to find a way to work things out, remember that abusive relationships usually follow a pattern called the cycle of violence. If the abuse has happened once, it is likely to happen again.
Regardless of whether you decide to stay in the relationship or leave, you need to think about how to keep yourself safe. There are several things you can do to stay safe.
Call the police.
If someone is hurting you, or you are in immediate danger, it may be best to call the police (call 911). Many acts of domestic violence are crimes and the abuser can be arrested and go to jail for them.
Get a restraining order or protective order.
A restraining order, also called a protective order, is a court order that makes it illegal for the abuser to harm you, come near you or contact you in any way. For this reason, it can be a powerful tool. With an order, you don't have to wait until you are actually hurt or threatened by the abuser before calling the police. You can call the police as soon as the abuser comes near you or contacts you in any way. The police may also respond more quickly if they know you have a restraining order.
Create a safety plan.
A safety plan is a way for you to think in advance about how to keep yourself safe. Even if you never have to use it, it is important to have a safety plan. With a safety plan, you can think ahead about how to protect yourself instead of trying to figure it out when you may be in danger. The safety plan should be practical and specific. It can help you avoid dangerous situations and know the best way to react when you are in danger.
Go to a domestic violence shelter.
A domestic violence shelter is a safe place, usually a house or apartments in a secret location, where victims of domestic violence and their children can go in an emergency. Normally, you can only stay at a shelter for a limited time, but the shelter will help you find a more permanent place to live once you leave. To find a shelter call our helpline at 888.988.TEEN.