You are not alone.
Dating and domestic violence affect people in every community regardless of income, race, ethnicity, marital status, age, gender, physical ability, religion or sexual orientation.
It is important to know that abuse often becomes more severe and frequent over time. Abusers do not typically change on their own.
HopeWorks is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and help you create a plan to stay safe. Whether you are in an abusive relationship, planning to leave, or have left, if you are being hurt by a spouse, partner or ex, we can help you protect yourself and your children.
Here are some things you can do NOW.
- Call the police (911) if you feel you are in danger and need immediate help. The police records of the call can also support your case if it goes to court.
- Call us. HopeWorks can give you information about the law, shelters, counseling, legal help and more ways to keep you safe.
- Arrange a signal with neighbor, friend or coworker to let them know when you need help.
- Leave the home if it is unsafe for you to remain there. Seek shelter with a friend or relative, or call HopeWorks for emergency shelter.
- Prepare an emergency get-away kit for your and your children with money, keys, a change of clothes and important papers (such as ID card or driver’s license, birth certificates, social security cards, passports, health records and school records).
- Get medical attention if you think you may have been injured. Medical records may also be helpful in documenting your case if it goes to court. HopeWorks can help document abuse by taking pictures of your injuries and saving them until you need them in court.
- Get a Protective Order or a Peace Order. These are court orders which restrict the abuser’s behavior, and may grant certain rights to you to make you safer. Someone who violates a Protective Order or Peace Order may be arrested or found in contempt of court. Please call HopeWorks if you would like assistance filling out the petition or preparing to speak to the judge about your case at your initial hearing. Attorneys and legal advocates are available at the main office or in the Howard County district court to speak confidentially with you and assist you in making determinations about your best options based on your individual circumstances.
HopeWorks is here to help you develop your safety plan. Call us anytime. Read more about safety planning here.