How to Stop Domestic Violence FAQs
We can all take steps to stop domestic violence. If you or a loved one are trying to leave an abusive relationship, it's important to remember that it's the abuser who needs to change. However, your abuser may be unable or unwilling to change, and you should never have to endure abuse from anyone. Your number one priority should be safety for you and your loved ones.
This article answers commonly asked questions about how to stop domestic violence with helpful tips and resources.
I'm thinking of leaving an abusive relationship. Where do I start?
First, plan for your safety. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or your local domestic violence outreach organization to learn more about how to create a safety plan or to discuss how to approach a friend about your concerns regarding their abusive relationship. In addition, you or your loved one may want to attend a domestic violence support group.
I'm afraid to call the police, but can I?
Remember you can always call 911 if anyone is hurting you or threatening to hurt you. There are potential consequences for your abuser. Such consequences could be arrest, conviction for domestic violence, and/or deportation. However, it's important to keep in mind that it was the abuser who took the action that resulted in you or your loved one needing to call the police for protection. If you do call the police and they respond in an inappropriate manner, such as ignoring your call for help, consider consulting with your local domestic violence agency.
I'm not safe at home. Where can I go?
If you need to immediately leave a home you share with your abuser, you can call a local domestic violence agency. They can give you information about either how to enter the local domestic violence shelter or about confidential programs for motel vouchers. Shelters are often full, and you may have to leave your area to find a safe and confidential place elsewhere. If your abuser has not been trying to find you or is highly unlikely to try to find you, you may consider leaving and entering a homeless women's shelter.
I've left my abuser. What can I do to stop them from coming after me?
A great legal option that can help to stop domestic violence is a protection order, which is a court order that says your abuser cannot come near you, your home, your car, your work, or your school.
A protection order doesn't necessarily prevent an abuser from stalking or attacking you. However, the mere existence of a protection order tends to cause police to take 911 calls from victims more seriously. With an order of protection, police are likelier to arrest abusers if your abuser continues harassing or intimidating you. If you have a protection order against your abuser, it's also likelier that they will face criminal or civil penalties for continuing to harass or intimidate you.
How can I stop domestic violence? What can I do?
The best answer to the question of how to stop domestic violence, and the only way to permanently do so, is to end the cycles of control and abuse in relationships. This involves teaching children about what healthy and effective partnerships look like. Partners with children may do this by engaging in healthy relationship behaviors themselves and by demonstrating these behaviors around their kids as they engage in these behaviors.
We can also take more concrete steps in our daily lives to help achieve the goal of eliminating domestic abuse. Example of such steps are:
- Consider calling the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence.
- Speak out publicly against domestic violence, which can even be as simple as telling someone that makes jokes about domestic violence that such jokes aren't funny.
- Refer your neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member to a domestic violence outreach organization if you suspect they are being abused.
- Reach out to your neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member if you believe they are being abused.
- Educate others on domestic violence by inviting a speaker from your local domestic violence organization to present at your religious or professional organization, civic or volunteer group, workplace, or school.
- Encourage your neighborhood watch or block association to watch for domestic violence.
- Donate to domestic violence counseling programs and shelters.
- Be especially vigilant about domestic violence during the stressful holiday season.
Learn How to Stop Domestic Violence with an Attorney's Assistance
If you're the victim of domestic violence, it's important that you take action to make sure that you're safe and can heal. Consider working with a family law attorney. They can help you through the legal processes that typically are necessary after you leave your abuser. Such a lawyer can help you end the cycle of abuse. They can help you put your life, and those of the people you love, back on track.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.