Deciding what to do when you are in an abusive situation is hard. It is common to not know whether to stay or leave. It is your choice. Below are some options for staying safe.
You can build your support system and find ways to be safer. This applies to whether staying with an abusive partner or leaving. You can’t control your partner’s abusive behavior. However, you can take steps to protect yourself (and your children if you have any) from harm. You know your situation best. You know when remaining in the home and/or in the relationship is no longer an option. Safety plans are important whether you are staying in or leaving a relationship.
A safety plan is a personalized and practical plan that helps you identify things you can do to better protect yourself (and your children) at home, school, work, and in the community. It will also help to reduce your risk of being hurt. The changes that occur may be big, like going to a confidential shelter or changing schools. The changes may be small, like changing your email passwords or the route you take to work. Planning can help you to safely escape violence, protect your children, and get assistance or support if needed.
A Peace at Home advocate can help you create a personal safety plan.
You can provide help and support for a friend or loved one who is experiencing abuse.
Express your concern. Accept that your friend is in a very difficult, scary situation. Let your friend know that the abuse is not their fault, you believe them, and you are concerned about their safety. Encourage your friend to express their feelings and get help.
Remember that it may be difficult for your friend to talk about it.
Respect your friend’s right to make decisions.
Offer to go with your friend when they seek help.
Understand that you cannot “fix” the situation.
Plan safe strategies with your friend, including:
Having a code word your friend can use to signal a need for immediate help.