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 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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.