If you are in danger or wish to speak with an advocate, please call:

24-hour Harbor House crisis hotline
(407) 886-2856
TTY/TTD
Florida Domestic Violence Hotline
+1 (800) 500-1119
National Domestic Abuse Hotline
+1 (800) 799-7233

Safety

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Justice

We’ll be alongside you as we help you get the justice you deserve.

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Healing

Our resources can help you begin your journey to healing and wholeness.

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R3 App

Download our app. Learn if you’re in an abusive relationship, and where to get help.

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The following sections on this page will guide you when helping your friend or loved one.

RECOGNIZING ABUSE

Abusers use the tactics on the Power & Control Wheel to trap survivors in a relationship.

WHAT SURVIVORS MIGHT HEAR:

 

  • “It’s your fault I act this way!”
  • “I will find you wherever you go!”
  • “I will change and it will never happen again!”

WHAT SURVIVORS MIGHT EXPERIENCE:

 

  • Watching the abuser handle guns, bullets, knives, etc.
  • Having the keys to car taken away.
  • Having phone calls screened.
  • Being denied access to money.

ABUSERS INSTILL FEAR IN SURVIVORS:

 

  • Fear of losing children.
  • Fear of loneliness and isolation.
  • Fear of pets being abused.
  • Fear of becoming homeless.

The barriers that prevent the survivor from leaving may be:

  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Religious

And, the survivor may still be in love with the abuser.

Remember: Leaving does not happen in just one step. It is a process. Staying may be safer than leaving.

WHAT DO I SAY?

 

If you believe your friend or loved one needs help, here are tips to help you guide the conversation.

Plan any discussion about domestic abuse – do not bring it up spontaneously. Some phrases that may help you to open conversations include:

  • I’m worried about you.
  • What is it like for you?
  • You don’t deserve this.
  • You’re in a tough situation.
  • You’re a strong person.

Do not argue if the survivor minimizes the abuse. Instead, talk about your perceptions of the situation, and always listen carefully. Be specific about why you worry about the survivor’s safety, perhaps what you have observed or heard.

Be careful not to drive away the survivor. If the survivor turns away from the conversation, be ready to resume talking when you’re asked for help.

If the survivor:

  • Defends the abuser, back off immediately but keep in contact.
  • Trashes the abuser, do not jump to agreement. The survivor may return to the abuser in the future and remember your harsh words, pushing you away.

HOW DO I HELP?

 

To help your friend or loved one who is experiencing domestic abuse:

  • Understand that an abuser tends to devalue and control a partner’s perceptions of reality.
  • Recognize that survivors may not realize they are in danger.
  • Believe the survivor and take the accusations of abuse seriously.
  • Remain neutral and do not take sides.
  • Respect the survivor’s decisions and do not judge.
  • Control yourself, not the survivor. Be responsible for the energy you bring to the conversation.
  • The best thing you can do is give the survivor contact information for a local domestic abuse advocate or a national center.
  • Call a hotline with the survivor or suggest calling when they are alone and safe.

Harbor House Hotline: 407-886-2856

Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

HOW DO I STAY SAFE?

 

The best way for you and the survivor to stay safe is to take immediate action – but this does not necessarily mean leaving the abuser.

  • Ask the survivor what is needed at that point in time. Don’t assume you know.
  • Call an advocate while you are with the survivor. Allow the survivor to speak with the advocate and develop a safety plan.
  • Hand the survivor a cell phone to use in emergencies.
  • Give the survivor the hotline number.

Harbor House Hotline: 407-886-2856

Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233