What to do if… You are in an abusive and/or violent relationship
Intimate Partner Violence
What Should I Do If I’m Being Abused?
- Talk to someone you trust. It is important to break the silence.
- If you decide to leave the relationship, develop a safety plan. A safety plan can include asking a trusted friend for help, choosing a safe place to stay, and collecting money, emergency phone numbers and a bag of clothes so you can leave quickly.
- Seek help from one of the resources at Cal Poly. You can ask to speak with a counselor at The Cal Poly Counseling Center who is knowledgeable about partner abuse.
- Call the Women’s Shelter Program at (805) 781-6400. You can talk to a trained crisis counselor about: what you are going through, making a plan to get away from your violent partner, our confidential Safe House, and services for men and women trying to change their lives for the better.
- Create a Safety Plan. We understand that it is very difficult to leave a violent partner. A safety plan will help you to organize what you and your children will need for your escape. Call the Women’s Shelter Program at (805) 781-6400 for help creating your plan. Click here to learn more about safety planning.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. When the police arrive, ask for an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). An EPO can be issued by the police 24 hours a day. This order serves as immediate protection from the batterer. It provides a “kick out” order so that the batterer must move from the residence. Temporary custody of the children is given to the person to be protected by the order. If the batterer violates this order, the batterer may be arrested. Calling the police each time the EPO is violated will help you in the process of getting a more permanent protection order. This order is good for five court days, which allows you time to file a request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
- Seek a restraining order. The Women’s Shelter Program provides assistance completing Restraining Order paperwork. A Domestic Violence Restraining Order provides longer-term legal protection and may include move-out orders (mandating the restrained person to move-out of a shared residence), a stay-away order (mandating the restrained person to stay 50-100 yards away from the protected party at all times), along with child custody, visitation, and support orders.
What Do I Do If I'm In An Abusive Relationship?
- Remember you have the right to live without fear and violence.
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits or that include dangerous items—stay out of bathrooms, the kitchen and/or the garage.
- Make a list of safe people to contact.
- Try to keep important documents, keys and cash with you.
- Keep your cell phone charged and memorize important numbers.
- Establish a "code word or sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if they become violent.
- Have a set of clothes for yourself and for your children stored at a friend's house or at work in the event you need to leave your home quickly.
- Keep sets of important documents (birth certificates, banking information, ATM card, school records, deeds, other legal documents) away from your house in a safe place that only you can access.
- Keep a journal of the abuse ONLY if you feel confident that you can keep it hidden from the abuser.
How Do I Get Out Of An Abusive Relationship? What Do I Do After I Leave?
- Change your phone number and/or screen all of your calls.
- Trust your instincts—if something doesn’t feel safe don’t do it.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving interaction with the abuser.
- Change locks at your home and to your vehicle.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place with a family member or friend nearby or present.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and those you work with.
- Consider applying for a Temporary Restraining Order.