What Can I Do?

There are lots of different ways you can help yourself. Personal relationships, especially when there are children involved, are complicated and the different types of abuse give rise to different types of danger – only you know which actions will be right for your situation.

First Steps:

  • The most important thing to do is to speak to someone (who is not part of your home/family) about your situation. As you educate yourself on your rights, and think about the next steps to take, you need to ensure that at least one other adult knows about what is happening to you.
  • If your physical safety (or that of your children) is in danger, before you look at legal routes, you should prepare a Safety Plan. A Safety Plan helps you to plan ahead about how you will get yourself (and your children) to safety the next time you are in danger. If you have a plan, you will be able to work on other, more effective solutions without feeling anxious about what you will do when the abuse happens again.
  • Follow these Safety Tips if you are in Physical Danger:
    • If possible, ensure that there is a part of the home in which you can lock yourself and your children
    • Remove weapons and sharp objects from the environment
    • Save an emergency number on your phone or the number of another adult who you have arranged to contact in an emergency 
    • Ensure that you have a small amount of airtime and data available for emergencies
    • Ensure that you have a small amount of money available for emergencies
    • If you are physically hurt, take photos/videos using your mobile phone and send them to someone else, or to yourself by email so that the photos can be deleted from your phone but still saved. This way you can use them as evidence later if you need to.
  • Understand that by educating yourself and looking at different actions to take to help yourself and your children can place you at increased risk. If the abuser finds out that you may tell someone or look for help, he/she may become more violent or abusive. Be very, very careful at this stage and do not threaten your abuser with seeking help.
  • Managing Children who are exposed to Domestic Violence is very difficult. The important thing to know is that children who are exposed to domestic violence, have a high risk of being involved in abusive relationships when they grow up. This is because exposure to domestic violence can lead children to think that abuse is a normal part of relationships and an appropriate way to resolve relationship conflict. If your children have been exposed to domestic violence, they need to be told again and again (at times when things are calm), that it is not right, not normal and not appropriate for adult relationships.

Next Steps

  • Now, you can choose to:
    • Get counselling for yourself, for you and your abuser as a couple, or for your children (see National and Local Aid Organisations in Resources)
    • Move to a safe place, like a friend, family member or shelter (see Shelters in Resources)