Violence can happen to anyone—males or females, children, teens,
adults, older adults, or people with disabilities. You are not to blame. No
matter what happened, violence is not okay. Violent people usually have many
problems that they find hard to deal with, which can cause them to act out with
Physical abuse includes hitting, pushing, shaking,
slapping, kicking, pinching, choking, strangling, and burning. Physical abuse
may come from a stranger, an acquaintance, or a close friend or family
member. Many victims of abuse know their attacker.
behavior can also hurt you emotionally. You may feel sad or frightened.
Feelings of guilt may prevent you from getting help. But it is important for
you to seek help and continue to get help for yourself as long as you need it.
Talk to your local child or adult protective agency, the police, or a health
professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or counselor. You can also call a local
mental health clinic. Any of these people can help you deal with your feelings,
get medical treatment if needed, and take steps to stop the abuser.
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If you feel threatened, you
must have a
plan for dealing with a threatening situation. If a
family member or someone else has threatened to harm you or your child, seek
If you need immediate help, call 911.
the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or see the website at www.ndvh.org. for free, confidential
counseling and information about local community resources.
someone: the police, a trusted friend, a spiritual adviser, or a health
professional. If the incident occurred at work, contact your human resources
department for help.
resources that can help in a crisis. Your local YMCA,
YWCA, police department, mental health clinic, or hospital has information on
shelters and safe homes.
Be alert to warning signs, such as
threats or drunkenness, so that you can avoid a dangerous situation. If you
cannot predict when violence may occur, have an exit plan for use in an
If a child tells you that he or she has been abused, stay
calm. Tell the child that you believe him or her and that you will do your best
to keep him or her safe. Report the abuse to the local police or child
protective services agency. For more information, see the topic
Child Abuse and Neglect.
If you are no longer living with a violent person, contact the
police to obtain a restraining order if your abuser continues to pursue you and
act violently toward you.
If you know someone who may be a victim of violent behavior
Here are some things you can do to help a friend or
Let your friend know you are willing to listen
whenever she or he wants to talk. Don't confront your friend if she or he is
not ready to talk. Encourage your friend to talk with her or his health
professional, human resources manager, and supervisor to see what resources
might be available.
Tell your friend that the abuse is not her or
his fault and that no one deserves to be abused. Remind your friend that
violence is against the law and that help is available. Be understanding if she
or he is unable to leave. She or he knows the situation best and when it is
safest to leave.
If your friend has children, gently point out
that you are concerned that the violence is affecting them. Many people do not
understand that their children are being harmed until someone else talks about
Encourage and help your friend develop a
safety plan. This plan will help keep your friend and
her or his children safe during a violent incident, when preparing to leave,
and after leaving.
The most important step is to help your friend contact local
domestic violence groups. There are programs across the country that provide
options for safety, legal support, support, and needed information and
services. To find the nearest program:
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), or see the website at www.ndvh.org.
Call the National Center for Victims of Crime at 1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2255), or see the website at www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbID=dash_Home.
The most dangerous time for your friend may be when she or
he is leaving the abusive relationship, so any advice about leaving must be
informed and practical.
Violence is learned behavior, so it is
especially important to help your children learn that violence is not a healthy
way to resolve conflict. Living in a violent environment increases your child's
chances of developing behavior problems,
anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, poor school
achievement, and lowered expectations for the future. People who are maltreated
as children are more likely to abuse others. If you were ever abused, it is
very important to get treatment so that you learn different ways to resolve
conflict and use appropriate discipline.
If violence occurs again, call your doctor to decide if and when you need to see your doctor or get other
Prevent violence in your home.
Learn nonviolent ways to resolve conflicts.
Arguing is fine, even healthy, as long as it does not turn violent. For more
information on anger control, see the topic
Anger, Hostility, and Violent Behavior.
Keep yourself safe from violence.
Be alert to warning signs, such as threats or
drunkenness, so that you can avoid a dangerous situation. If you can't predict
when violence may occur, have an
exit plan for use in an emergency.
Prevent violence with guns
and other weapons. Do not provide your children or teenagers with unsupervised
access to guns or other dangerous weapons.
Do not keep loaded guns in your
If you must keep guns in your home, unload them and lock
them up. Lock ammunition in a separate place.
Do not keep guns
in a home where there is someone who has a drug or alcohol problem, is prone to
violent behavior, or has threatened suicide.
Make sure that no one
in your home will have access to guns or other weapons unless they know how
to use them safely.
If you are no longer living with a violent person,
contact the police to obtain a restraining order if your abuser continues to
pursue you and act violently toward you.
Teach your children that
violence is not a solution. Settle arguments without yelling or hitting. Do not
use physical discipline, such as spanking, pinching, ear pulling, jabbing,
shoving, choking, or strangling. If you need help controlling your children,
consider taking a course in parenting skills.
Limit your child's
exposure to TV, movies, and video games to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day.
Do you have any
risk factors that increase your chance of becoming a victim of violent
Another resource for help is the National Domestic Violence
Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE, 1-800-799-7233) or see the website at www.ndvh.org for free, confidential counseling and information
about local community resources.
Other Places To Get Help
National Domestic Violence Hotline
firstname.lastname@example.org (email is not confidential or secure)
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers crisis
intervention, information about domestic violence, and referrals to local
service providers for victims of domestic violence (men, women, and teens) and those
calling on their behalf. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year, in English, Spanish, and other languages. The hotline connects callers to
more than 4,000 shelters and service providers in the United States, Puerto
Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.