7 Resources For Domestic Violence Victims & People Who Want To Help Them
Earlier this week, a startling report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime indicated that more than half of women who were murdered in 2017 were killed by partners or family members. Those living in unhealthy or potentially unsafe situations often feel that they are stuck, but there are resources for domestic violence victims that provide everything from counseling to exit plan strategies, and they're committed to taking steps to make sure that victims receive help safely.
Domestic violence thrives when victims are isolated, but data like the UN's indicates is that domestic violence is astonishingly common. And while victims often learn to cope and manage the abuse from day-to-day, the danger is very real. For example, the American Journal of Public Health found that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Ruth Glenn, president and CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), spoke with Bustle about a new Disarm DV tool, which aims to make information about firearm prohibition and protective orders readily available to whoever needs it. She says that the issue with guns in domestic violence situations is that they can be used in a multitude of ways.
"Firearms are a very powerful tool not just in the fact victim or survivor may be killed by it… But they’re also really powerful as far as coercion and harassment and threatening and control," Glenn says. "So you may have a gun present in the relationship and the victim is never killed by the gun or firearm, but she also knows that the possibility is there, that it can happen."
DisarmDV, which just launched on Nov. 15, is just one of a multitude of resources available for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Unless noted, all websites listed below have emergency exit buttons which allow users to quickly leave a website if they are no longer safe or comfortable viewing it, i.e. if someone suddenly walks up behind them. As always, if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
Disarm DV is a database that lets its users find what rules are in place from state to state with regard to whether or not people with protection orders against them are allowed to own or purchase firearms. Some states require people with protection orders against them to turn in their guns, for example; a few allow law enforcement to seize them.
"We were really focused on doing something that was comprehensive.. and making it as friendly as possible," Glenn tells Bustle. "For instance, an advocate may need to pull it up on her iPad if she’s in the courtroom — or, if a survivor is up in the middle of the night trying to figure out how she can get a protection order that will ensure that the guns are removed."
Disarm DV was created in conjunction with the NCADV, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and Prosecutors Against Gun Violence.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
If you want to speak about your situation with a real person, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is a go-to. If you're not personally in a domestic violence situation, don't worry. The organization also field calls from people looking for advice for other people, and those behind the hotline tout it as a judgement-free zone. The phone number is 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
In order to preserve safety, the organization recommends that survivors or victims delete the hotline's number after the call is complete, and also encourages deleting browsing history after visiting the website.
The website also includes a number of resources for those seeking to learn more about domestic violence.
State And Local Resources
The Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women has a list of state-based resources for survivors of domestic violence. The list also includes tribal coalitions, as well as local sexual assault coalitions. (Note: This website does not include an emergency exit button.)
National Network To End Domestic Violence
NNEDV describes itself as a "social change organization." The group is a combination of local violence prevention organizations, allied groups, and individuals, according to its website. They aim to affect change on a policy level, offer support for survivors leaving unsafe situations, and collaborate together on ideas to help prevent and respond to domestic violence.
National Dating Abuse Hotline
Like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Dating Abuse Hotline is open to those calling on behalf of themselves or someone else. Specialists there focus on helping young people who have concerns or questions about dating relationships, according to the group's website. Call 1-866-331-9474 or text "loveis" to 22522 to get in touch. You can also chat on their website, loveisrespect.org.
NO MORE is an organization that aims to end domestic violence and sexual assault by promoting awareness, action, and cultural change, per its website. NO MORE does many things, including provide organizations with tools to help them educate their communities, help connect people with local anti-domestic violence movements, and put together research on how domestic violence and sexual assault impact different communities.
Domestic Violence Shelters
Not everyone has friends or family they can safely turn to, and that's OK. DomesticShelters.org has a national list of shelters and local organizations that users can find based on their current zip code. The website also includes a variety of information about domestic violence and abuse.
Domestic violence affects people around the world, and it does not discriminate. If you're concerned for your safety — or someone else's — learning about the resources available is the first step toward finding help.