Domestic violence and teen dating violence hurt millions of people each year. But no one deserves abuse. These key Habits to Have® will help you identify abuse, seek help if you need it, reach out if you suspect someone else is being abused, help your teens avoid abusive partners and teach your kids the importance of respectful relationships.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers anonymous and confidential help 24 hours a day. Operators provide referrals to local support organizations, crisis information, safety planning and information about domestic violence. The Hotline can also provide resources and referrals to people who are worried about someone else. Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or visit www.ndvh.org.
Develop a safety plan that will allow you to escape dangerous situations. During arguments try to avoid rooms with only one exit and rooms where dangerous objects (like kitchen knives) are stored. Pack a change of clothes, car keys, emergency money and important papers (driver’s license, birth certificates, social security card, etc.) and store them with a trusted friend. Practice what you will do and where you will go if you need to make a quick escape.
Domestic violence and teen dating violence aren't always easy to spot. But if you know the signs and learn to trust your instincts, you can identify abuse and seek help for yourself or a victim. Read What Is Domestic Violence from the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Signs of Dating Abuse from Love Is Not Abuse.
Building some financial independence will make it easier for you to leave an abusive situation. Find a way to safely put aside some money for yourself. Even if all you can save is bus fare, knowing you have that will allow you to escape when you need to. Open or keep accounts or credit cards in your own name in order to protect your assets and independence and allow you to establish credit once you leave. Learn more at clicktoempower.org.
Often, the doctor’s office is the only place an abuse victim is allowed unsupervised, and this relationship can be an important lifeline. Know that your health care provider will not judge you or be critical of you if you share your story of abuse. Talk to your health care provider about local shelters and support organizations.
Though teen dating violence affects one out of three teens, most parents never talk to their kids about abuse. Only 28% of teens say they have talked to their moms about dating abuse, while just 13% say they’ve had a dating abuse conversation with their dads. Start the conversation with these tips from Love Is Not Abuse.
If you suspect a friend or relative is being abused, start asking questions and offer your support. The victim may not be ready to talk about the situation, but knowing there is someone who cares about his or her well-being is important. Convey that you are available to help, but don’t presume to know what the person is going through. Be careful not to judge or condemn the person for staying in the relationship, but let him or her know you are concerned and can help if asked.
Abusers often blame victims for provoking violence and then use shame to keep them in the abusive relationship. Know that no matter what your abuser says or does, no one deserves to be hurt—physically, sexually or emotionally. You deserve a healthy, violence- and abuse-free relationship.