How Can Victims of Domestic Abuse Get Help?
You are not responsible for the abuse!
Batterers often blame their abusive behavior on drugs or alcohol, stress, childhood abuse, or their partner. If your partner’s behavior makes you feel unsafe, you are not to blame.
If you have experienced abuse, you may have feelings of isolation, fear, shame, and hopelessness. That’s normal and okay. You are not responsible for someone else’s violence.
It is a crime if someone physically hurts or threatens you. No one has the right to hurt you, even if that person is a spouse, partner, or family member.
Go somewhere safe.
The instant a partner hits you or threatens to hit you, the minute you feel fear, get away immediately. Go to a friend or relative’s house, or to a battered women’s shelter. Shelters will protect you whether you are married or single, whether you have children or not, and they will help you decide what to do next.
Call the police - Call 911.
If your partner has hurt you or if you are afraid, you have the right to call the police. What he or she is doing is illegal, whether you are married or not. In many states, including New Mexico, the police can immediately remove the batterer from the premises and arrest him or her.
Get an order of protection.
An order of protection means that the batterer is breaking the law if he or she comes after you again and can be arrested. Call a hotline number to get more information.
You are not alone.
Domestic violence affects all of us — children, teens, adults, and elders. It occurs between people of all races, nationalities, economic classes, ages, physical abilities, and education levels.
It takes place in all types of intimate relationships — heterosexual, same-sex, marriage, dating, and former relationships. It can also happen in relationships between two people who are not intimate partners, like between two family members or an older adult and their caregiver.
It can happen to anyone. If you are a victim or survivor of abuse, you are not alone.
When the Abuser Is There:
- Stay out of rooms with no exit.
- Avoid rooms that may have weapons.
- Select a code word that alerts friends and children to call the police.
- Leave your suitcase and checklist items with a friend.
When the Abuser Has Moved Out:
- Obtain an order of protection.
- Change locks on doors and windows.
- Insert a peephole in the door.
- Change telephone number, screen calls, and block caller ID.
- Install/increase outside lighting.
- Consider getting a dog.
- Inform the landlord or neighbor of the situation, and ask that police be called if the abuser is seen around the house.
Safety at Work - What to Do:
- Tell your employer.
- Give security a photo of the abuser and an order of protection.
- Screen your calls.
- Have an escort to your car or bus.
- Vary your route home.
- Consider a cell phone for your car.
- Carry a noisemaker or personal alarm.
Protecting Your Children:
- Plan and rehearse an escape route with your children.
- If it is safe, teach them a code word to call 911 and how to use a public telephone.
- Let school personnel know to whom children can be released.
- Give school personnel a photo of the abuser.
- Warn school personnel not to divulge your address and phone number.
Teen Dating Violence Facts
- Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about it.
- Teen victims of dating violence are more likely to abuse drugs, have eating disorders, and attempt suicide.
- A recent survey of schools found there were an estimated 4,000 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault in public schools across the country.
- In a study of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents, youths involved in same-sex dating are just as likely to experience dating violence as youths involved in opposite-sex dating.
- One-third of high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship.
- Dating violence is the leading cause of injury to young women.
- Nearly one-quarter of girls who have been in a relationship reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure.
- About 40% of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age that has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
- Approximately 70% of young women rape victims knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend, or casual acquaintance.
- Six out of ten rapes of young women occur in their own homes or a friend’s or relative’s home, not in a dark alley.
- Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence.