What to do if you are in an abusive relationship
As a woman involved in an abusive relationship, your personal
safety should be your number one concern. When your partner has
been violent or you believe he/she may become violent, have
a safety plan in mind for yourself. Abuse does not necessarily
have to be a physical assault—there are various types
of abuse, and psychological abuse can be equally damaging
and frightening. Your safety plan should apply to situations of
psychological assault as well.
For emergencies—your safety plan
In the event of an emergency, you may choose to follow any or all
of the steps below.
Leave the situation. Go to the nearest place where you feel safe
and call for help.
Call the police or 911. Assault is punishable under the law and
criminal charges can be laid. You can request that an officer(s) be
present while you leave and at a later time, should you need to return
to collect your personal belongings.
Have a bag packed and ready to go. This bag should contain a
small amount of money, identification, credit cards, extra car keys,
and clothing. If you need to escape with your children, be sure you
pack appropriate items for them as well. You may want to leave your
bag outside your home or with someone you trust.
Memorize important telephone numbers and keep a list in your
Have an idea of somewhere safe you can stay. Go to a battered
women's shelter and take your children with you. They need
protection and may be in danger of being harmed by your partner
if left behind.
Call the distress line or domestic violence hotline in your area.
If your community is without a distress line, refer to the useful
telephone numbers on our resources
page. North American callers call call the National Domestic
Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD).
Advocates are available 24 hours a day.
Keep in mind that you may or may not receive emergency help that is sensitive
to your situation or sexual orientation. Emergency personnel may not be
sensitive to lesbian issues or understanding
of women in general. Be prepared for this.