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Get Help Now

If you need help, contact your local domestic violence program or call a confidential domestic violence hotline.


What to expect if you call a hotline

  • Direct connection to the domestic violence program near you.
  • Help to find resources in your area including safe shelter, advocacy, counseling, and legal assistance.
  • Crisis assistance, emotional support, and safety planning.
  • Access to hotline advocates in 170 languages through interpreter services.

Should you call the police if you suspect someone’s partner is abusing them or if you hear your neighbors fighting?

Calling 911 can sometimes cause more harm than help.

What to expect if you call a program

  • A caring listening ear. All programs have people who can listen and help you sort out options.
  • Advocacy services. Most programs have specially trained advocates who can help with public benefits, housing, disability services, immigration, employment protections, and more.
  • Emergency shelter. Many programs offer shelter or other emergency housing solutions. Some programs have longer term housing for survivors and programs to support survivors to find safe, permanent housing.
  • Support groups. Some programs run groups for children, youth, and adults.
  • Legal advocacy. Most programs offer information about protective orders and other civil matters. Most do not provide legal counsel, but can refer you to free or low cost attorneys.
  • Crisis services. Many programs offer 24-hour crisis services.

What to expect if you go to a shelter

Every shelter is different, but usually you can expect that:

  • Shelters are free—no fees are charged to stay.
  • Most shelters have shared kitchens, common areas, and bathrooms.
  • If you have children, you will probably all share one bedroom.
  • If you are alone, you may have to share a room.
  • You are responsible for taking care of your own children.
  • All shelters must welcome service animals. However, most shelters cannot accommodate pets. They will work with you to make arrangements to have your pets cared for elsewhere.
  • Shelters have laundry facilities and supply linens (sheets, towels and blankets).
  • They usually have emergency food, clothing, and toiletries available for the first few days of a stay.
  • Shelters can be stressful—this is group living with others who are experiencing tough times.
  • You will be asked to honor the privacy of other residents by not discussing their names or situations with anyone else.
  • Shelters are concerned about everybody’s safety, so you may be asked to keep the location a secret.
  • Visitors are generally not allowed.
  • Some shelters have computers you can use to check your email and access online resources.
  • Some shelters offer free cell phones for 911 calls only.

What to expect if you call a legal advocate

When you talk to a legal advocate, you can expect that:

  • Services are offered free of charge.
  • Legal advocates are not attorneys and will be unable to give legal advice.
  • Advocates can offer a range of services that might include:
    • Accompanying you to court
    • Helping you fill out paperwork
    • Helping you understand the civil or criminal process
    • Outlining or prioritizing the legal options that are available
    • Informing you about what actually goes on in court
    • Preparing you for a hearing or trial, and giving support before, during, and after
    • Referring you to low or no-cost lawyers