Intimate Partner Violence Series: Part III – Resources to Escape from Violence

Last month (in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month) I decided to develop an Intimate Partner Violence Series that is intended to equip individuals with the information necessary to 1) determine if they are in an abusive relationship, 2) develop a safety plan for while they are in the relationship, 3) seek support and resources to help them get out of the relationship and finally 4) identify signs of healthy relationshipsThis series is intended to be educational in nature and is not a substitute for seeking professional help. Please seek the help of a therapist in your area. Today’s post is Part Three of this series. If this is a topic that has special relevance for you, stay tuned for future posts.

Leaving a relationship where you’re experiencing domestic violence is an incredibly challenging decision to make. It can also be an overwhelming task, and you may not know where to start. You may be thinking “where will I live?” “where will I work?” “who will help me?” and many other questions. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts in this series, a common component of an abusive relationship is the slow erosion of your support system over time, making it much harder to reach out to others for assistance. In this post is a list of 12 free (or low-cost) resources you can take advantage of for support in housing, financial, legal, mental health and social support:

 
 

Housing Support:

1 | DomesticShelters.org

This is a website that is like Google for emergency domestic violence shelters. All you have to do is enter your zip code into the search bar and you’ll come up with a number of results for shelters in your area. The next step at that point would be to call various shelters and see which ones have openings.

2 | YWCA Glendale Domestic Violence Program

This program includes a 24-hour crisis hotline at 888-999-7511, education and outreach about domestic violence and a 45-day emergency shelter (which includes comprehensive services: food, housing, counseling, social services, legal advocacy, case management, housing assistance, employment, education, healthcare and childcare.) All services are free and available in English, Spanish and Armenian.

Financial Support:

3 | Office for Victims of Crime

The Victims of Crime Act (of 1984) allocates federal funds to victims of crime to compensate for crime-related expenses such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs and lost wages or loss of support. The method for applying for these benefits vary from state-to-state, so click here for a U.S. map. You can click on your state to receive more information about how to apply for benefits.

4 | The California Victim Compensation Board

As mentioned above, this is the Victims of Crime Act Compensation Board specific to the state of California. Click here for more information.

Legal Support:

5 | FindLaw.com

If you need to file a restraining order (also called a protective order) against your abusive partner, you can learn more about how to do this at this link. This website is also a directory for lawyers, if you need to find legal counsel.

6 | WomensLaw.org

This website provides plain language legal information regarding federal, state and tribal laws regarding domestic abuse. The mission of the site is to empower women to know their rights within a relationship so that they can better advocate for themselves.

The site also provides detailed instructions for how to ensure that you can safely browse and access necessary information about domestic violence online without your partner finding out about it. Tips include how to clear your browser history and make sure your research is not traceable by your abuser.

Mental Health Support:

7 | Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

If you’re considering seeking individual psychotherapy, Open Path as a nationwide non-profit organization that connects clients with private practice therapists who charge $30 - $50 per session. Membership is a one-time fee of $49. If you are located in the Los Angeles area, I also provide sessions at a reduced rate on a limited basis.

8 | Psychology Today Groups

If you’re considering finding a support group to heal, be empowered and connect with other domestic violence survivors, Psychology Today Groups is a nationwide resource for discovering therapists facilitating support groups in your area. Groups are also typically more cost-effective than individual counseling.

Social Support:

9 | Domestic Violence Facebook Groups

Because domestic violence resources vary from region to region, it can be helpful to receive support and guidance from people in your area who’ve gone through a similar situation and have escaped to safety. Once way to easily connect with individuals in your area is to utilize Facebook groups such as:

More Resources:

10 | California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

The Partnership is a coalition of advocates, organizations and allied groups united in the common goal to end domestic violence in California. Their website provides a free resource map of domestic violence organizations, sorted by region. The map lists 28 organizations in the Los Angeles area alone.

Further Reading:

11 | Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support Handbook

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence provides a free PDF download of a booklet with 88 pages of useful information about what domestic violence is, how to create a safety plan, information about police and the courts and public resources available to survivors of domestic violence. Some of the information is state-specific to New York, but much of it is relevant to those who are not residents of New York.

12 | Breaking the Silence: A Handbook for Victims of Domestic Violence

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services provides a free PDF download of a 40-page booklet that provides detailed information about domestic violence relationship dynamics, safety-planning, resources and legal recourse. Again, some of the information is state-specific to Nebraska, but still a valuable resource to download and read for those who do not reside in Nebraska.

Although this list is far from exhaustive, it’s a good start to begin taking advantage of free resources that are available to you. If you feel that you are in imminent danger, please seek help immediately, by calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or by calling 911. If you are not in immediate danger, but would like to find someone to talk to, you can find a therapist at PsychologyToday.com or if you are in the Los Angeles area, feel free to contact me for therapy. I hope you found today’s post informative. Please leave a comment below if there’s anything you’d like to add or ask. Stay posted for the last article in this series. Be safe and be well.


about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And I'm passionate about helping people create healthy relationships in their lives. Through couples counseling in Pasadena and here on the blog, it's my mission to help foster stronger connections, healthy communication and life-long love.

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​Intimate Partner Violence Series: Part II – 7 Elements of Abuse Safety Planning

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and in honor of this, I’ve decided to develop an Intimate Partner Violence Series that is intended to equip individuals with the information necessary to 1) determine if they are in an abusive relationship, 2) develop a safety plan for while they are in the relationship, 3) seek support and resources to help them get out of the relationship and finally 4) identify signs of healthy relationships. This series is intended to be educational in nature and is not a substitute for seeking professional help. Please seek the help of a therapist in your area. Today’s post is Part Two of this series. If this is a topic that has special relevance for you, stay tuned for future posts.

Once you’ve identified abuse within your relationship, you might think “okay, now what?” Leaving an abusive relationship is incredibly difficult because you may be financially dependent on your abusive partner, you may be fearful of leaving due to retribution, you may love your abusive partner immensely and not want to leave, or many other factors making it challenging to pick up and take off. Whether you have decided to leave or whether you are looking to increase your safety while staying in an abusive relationship, you'll want to develop a safety plan for yourself. Here are 7 elements of abuse safety planning:

 
 

1 | Find a safe location

The first step of a safety plan is to find a safe location away from the abuser when you feel in danger of physical abuse. Although this may seem obvious, when experiencing abuse, one's levels of confusion and fear are so high, it's hard to know exactly what to do first. A safe place might be the cafe down the street or another room in the house (choose a room with no weapons and with a way to escape.)

2 | Keep a phone available

Keep a phone with you at all times. If you don't have access to one, or if your partner takes it away from you, know where the closest public phone is to your home.

3 | Call 911

If you feel you are in imminent danger, call the police immediately. If you are not in immediate danger, move down the steps of the safety plan.

4 | Utilize the Domestic Violence Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is an important resource to include in a safety plan. The phone hotline (1-800-799-7233) is a 24-hour a day free service and the live chat option on the website is available from 5 a.m. to midnight PST (also free.) Domestic violence advocates can help connect you to community resources (if that is something you’d like to take advantage of), can help you sort through your thoughts to make a decision about what to do next and can help you develop and execute a safety plan. The National Domestic Violence Hotline website also provides an abundance of useful information and resources for abuse survivors.

5 | Seek social support

A vital aspect of a safety plan is the phone numbers of a few friends, family members or neighbors who you trust to be able to help deliver you to safety in a dangerous situation with your partner. People on this list should be able to help drive you, house you or feed you temporarily if you feel you are at risk. If you need a place to stay or just someone to talk to, give the people on your list a call for support. The people who choose for your safety plan should be local and willing to help you when you need it.

6 | Put together an overnight bag

It's important to be prepared for the next potential act of violence. If you are currently living with your partner and not ready to leave the relationship, it's essential that you have a "get away" bag with cash, some clothes, and an extra car key. You can also make a habit of backing your car into the driveway for a quicker escape.

7 | Inform professionals

Any care professionals who you work with (i.e. a therapist, your doctor, etc.) that you trust should be included toward the end of your safety plan as individuals to keep in the loop of recent developments. Although most professionals maintain boundaries around their out-of-office hours and are typically not available for crisis management, you still want them to be informed of updates. Your therapist or other care professional may be able to accommodate an earlier appointment to help you decide on your next step.

Keep in mind, everyone’s situation is unique and each safety plan is tailored to the individual’s circumstances and needs. This post outlines elements that are generally included in safety plan, but is not an exhaustive list. If you'd like to learn more about safety planning, I suggest you visit this linkIf you feel that you are in imminent danger, please seek help immediately, by calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or by calling 911. If you are not in immediate danger, but would like to find someone to talk to, you can find a therapist at PsychologyToday.com or if you are in the Los Angeles area, feel free to contact me for therapy. I hope you found today’s post informative. Please leave a comment below if there’s anything you’d like to add or ask. Stay posted for future articles in this series. Be safe and be well.


about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And I'm passionate about helping people create healthy relationships in their lives. Through couples counseling in Pasadena and here on the blog, it's my mission to help foster stronger connections, healthy communication and life-long love.

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