What to Do If You’re a Victim of Abuse
Follow @sarah_childressNovember 23, 2013, 4:10 pm ET
The National Network to End Domestic Violence offers some internet and computer safety tips here. You can also click here to leave this site quickly.
Here’s what the experts recommend if you’re a victim of domestic violence, or know someone who might be:
1. Know the signs
Often, abuse starts with name-calling or insults and controlling behavior, and it can build to slapping, punching and other violence. But abuse is not only physical violence, it can involve sexual, emotional and financial components, too. Here is a list of red flags and potential signs of abuse. Experts say there are a lot of common signs — ask yourself whether your partner does any of the following:
2. Remember that this isn’t your fault
You don’t deserve to be treated this way. If you decide to seek help, you won’t be alone.
3. Seek help
In an emergency, call 911. You can also call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and TTY 1-800-787-3224. Advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, in English and Spanish, and through interpreters in more than 170 languages. They can provide confidential support, help with safety planning and refer you to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
4. Consider making a safety plan
Often, the most dangerous time for victims is when they try to leave their abuser. If you are ready to leave, come up with a plan for how and when to do it, where you might go, and what to take with you. Here are some tips on how to leave, what to consider if you have children, and a checklist for what to do before and after you leave to stay safe. If you’re in a rural area or small town, you can find resources specific to your needs here.
5. Stay safe online
The National Network to End Domestic Violence offers tipsheets in several languages on how to protect your personal information and keep your actions from being tracked online.
6. Get more information
A victim of domestic violence at a safe house in Nevada County, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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