There are ways to get help if you or someone you care about is a victim of domestic violence. In this article, we will share resources to help you understand what domestic violence is and programs that can help.
The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another.” Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, sex, or gender identity. It affects people of all backgrounds. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners whether they are married, living together, dating, or share a child.
Domestic violence is not just physical harm. It can also be mental or emotional harm like name calling or threatening to harm someone else. In many cases, domestic violence involves more than one type of abuse. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, mental, or threats. For more examples of domestic violence, check out the U.S. Department of Justice website.
The Family Violence Prevention Services (FVPSA) program is a free and confidential service for victims of domestic violence and their children to help find shelter and help right away. FVPSA offers help in all 50 states and has over 600 local programs.
In addition to safety planning for individuals and families, FVPSA helps people get counseling and legal support. FVPSA also helps with emergency shelter, housing options, and support groups.
The Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Program is there for people escaping domestic violence. The program helps run local homeless shelters and housing programs, which are often the first places survivors go when they need help.
The CoC Program makes sure that all residents get housing assistance no matter what their citizenship status or income are. Additionally, it trains staff on how to recognize and respond to abuse, while raising awareness about domestic violence.
You can contact your local housing programs using the Public Housing Agency contact information page to apply.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24/7, toll-free helpline for victims of domestic violence and their families. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get help.
The hotline has trained experts who can help callers with:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has an online chat for those who do not feel safe talking on the phone. The hotline is open to anyone in an abusive relationship, friends or family members concerned, and people seeking information about domestic violence.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
The Benefit Finder is an online questionnaire that helps you find government benefits you may be eligible for. It is easy to use and takes about 20-30 minutes. When you fill out the questionnaire, you will answer questions about yourself, and it will give you a list of benefits you may be eligible for. Once you get your benefit results, you will be directed to apply on the agency website.