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Domestic violence is a serious problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that nearly half of female murder victims were killed by a current or former partner.
8 ways to stay safe
If you’re in an abusive relationship, you might not feel like you can leave right now. But there are still things you can do to stay safe.
These strategies from the National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you cope with your emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, and take legal action:
- Identify safe areas of your home. These are places that have ways to escape and no weapons. When arguments happen, try to move to these safe areas.
- If you can’t avoid violence, make yourself a smaller target. Get into a corner and curl up in a ball. Protect your face and have your arms around each side of your head with your fingers entwined.
- If possible, have a phone accessible at all times. Know what numbers to call for help—including the number to your local shelter. If your life is in danger, call 911.
- Let trusted friends and neighbors know about the situation. Develop a plan and a visual signal for when you need help.
- Teach your kids how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in any violence between you and your partner. Instead, plan a code word to signal when they should get help or leave the house.
- Keep guns and knives locked away. Weapons should be as inaccessible as possible.
- Back your car into the driveway. Make sure it’s fueled at all times. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and the other doors locked. These habits can help you make a quick escape.
- Create several plausible reasons why you could leave the house. Plan for different times of the day and night.
Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233). Help is free and confidential. It’s also available in more than 170 different languages.
For more about domestic violence, including how to make plans to leave, check out this informative article.