When you encounter a member with a physically abusive relationship:

Contact - Immediately contact a staff member using the Report to Moderator link located in the bottom right corner of every post. A staff member will establish contact with the distressed member via PM, will give the member a local phone number for live help and will post a notice to all other staff members to monitor the situation.

Support - Members contacting us online are looking to talk and are not likely in an acute situation. Modest steps are important - too much too soon will run most people off. Build rapport - listen, validate them, show that you care and are non-judgmental, after all that's why they contacted us.

Do not make judgments about their partner or their relationship (there will be time for that later). People in abuse situations are often timid and feel they have no voice. Care should be used not to humiliate them by making them feel inadequate for being in their situation or for not being decisive or for not wanting to leave. Don't say "abuse is never ok" - they know that. Its a great phrase for advocacy groups, but kinda humiliating and second guessing someone in crisis.

Do not tell them to leave the relationship. The majority of homicides occur when leaving, shortly after leaving, and when returning. Often, leaving the relationship or threatening to leave the relationship escalates the abuse as the controller feels they are losing control. Also, a poorly planned exit is likely to fail (e.g., financially, second thoughts, being found, etc.).

Recommend - Coordinate with other members to recommend a threat assessment, safety plan, and exploration of local support. Modest and preventative steps are important. Calm is important.

Immediate Message: The immediate message is to calmly and politely exit all threatening situations early (go to the bathroom, go to the grocery, walk the dog, take out the trash) - better to leave than verbally or physically defend yourself or try to resolve the problem at hand.

Threat Assessment: The MOSAIC threat assessment is sophisticated third party test that can use to evaluate the danger in relationship. The link is


Safety Plan: A safety plan is a detailed plan to exit the home in the event of an aggravated situation. It includes stashing some exit supplies and having multiple alternate places to go (friend, hotel, etc.)

Local Support: We want to encourage contact with a local agency to learn about what resources are available to them locally. Suggest an exploratory call just for information gathering.

Make this seem as easy and non-threatening, not urgent and crisis. Say things like "it's just a precaution", "its best to think these things through when you are calm rather than in the moment".

Staff Resource and Shelter Search

To find local support phone numbers enter nearest large city and state, or county and state

Domestic Violence Database button
Member lookup
Emergency trace

If you are in a Domestic Violence (DV) situation:

Get Educated - There are many local live resources that can help you with support and information. It is always best to talk to someone live and local. Find local support phone numbers by entering city and state, or county and state in the search box at the top of this page.

To evaluate your own situation, click the SafetyFirst Icon.

What is Domestic Violence? Abuse is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abuse is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a partner from doing what they wish or forces them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.

Who does Domestic Violence affect? Each year, intimate partner violence (IPV) results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men. Domestic violence is sometimes confusing - the perpetrator is not necessarily a bad person or unloving or even badly intentioned - nonetheless, what they are doing is very wrong and needs to be stopped. Behavior often starts modestly and then escalates. It is helpful to recognize the signs early in the cycle, to have a safety plan, and to get help to bring it to end one way or another. There are many ways to resolve an abuse problem including anger management courses for the abuser, to temporary separation, permanent separation, and others.

How can I deal with it? Exit all threatening situations early (go to another room, go to the grocery) - it is better to leave than verbally or physically defend yourself or try to resolve the problem at hand. Make a formal safety plan just in case you need to get away for a day or a week for safety.

What doesn't work? Do not keep it a secret "in the family". You have a much better chance to resolve an abusive situation if you have help.

Don't make threats. Often, leaving the relationship or threatening to leave the relationship escalates the abuse as the controller feels they are losing control. Also, a poorly planned exit is likely to fail (e.g., financially, second thoughts, being found, etc.). Leaving the relationship requires serious planning and you should contact a domestic violence agency for professional assistance in doing this.

For Women: Safety planning should occur regardless if you are remaining in an abusive relationship, preparing to leave the relationship, already out of the relationship, or deciding to return to it. It is relatively easy to do, and if you ever need it, you will be glad it was in place.
More information.

For Men: In addition to safety planning, it is important to protect yourself against false domestic violence arrest that can result in jail time and can be used against you in a future divorce or custody disputes. Thirty-one (31) states have mandatory arrest protocols - if the police are called, someone must be arrested. When arguments get heated, if you restrain your partner (even if she is kicking, throwing things) or if you push or hold her (even if she is blocking you from leaving the room or a the house), you are at risk of a domestic violence criminal charge if the police are called - even if you called them. If it becomes "he said" "she said" the male is far more at risk of being arrested. If you respond to stress by drinking, your risk goes up as it is harder to control your emotions, and the police will be less willing to listen to you. Prevention is the best tactic - read more by clicking the link below.
More information.

What is “safety planning”? Safety planning involves the following:

Reading information about local domestic violence resources and legal rights.

Developing detailed plans in case a dangerous situations occurs

Developing detailed plans for leaving the location early, before a fight escalates (men only)

Identification (notification) of safe friends and safe places

List of essential items to take should one need or decide to leave home

Supports (emotional and financial) in place

Plans for obtaining a restraining order

Plans for what to do if there is unexpected contact

Updated: 02/23/18