CAUTION: Leaving an abusive relationship can be dangerous. Our primary concern is the safety of you, your children and/or pets! Let us help you.
Start by calling our confidential 24-hour crisis line today at 239.775.1101.
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Help for Myself


Abuse is never acceptable and never your fault!

You can regain power and control over your life...

The Shelter is here to assist you on that journey.




Start by calling our confidential 24-hour crisis line today at:


TTY 239.775.4265



In an Emergency:

  • Call 911 - go to a safe spot or the neighbor's and call the police (take children and pets, too).
  • Stay away from the kitchen, garage/any rooms that contain 'weapons' and small spaces.
  • If police come, explain what has occurred and write down the officer's badge number and name.
  • Take pictures of all injuries and damages.



Protect Yourself at Home:

  • Get help by calling 911 or The Shelter's confidential 24-hour abuse hotline: 239.775.1101. caring_mom
  • Always carry a charged cell phone; know your phone's blackout areas. Contact us for a free recycled cell phone for emergency service access/911 calls only: 239.775.3862.
  • Change locks on your doors and install locks on your windows; screen phone calls.
  • Plan an escape route from your home and teach it to your children; know where you will go to escape (consider The Shelter's residential Beau Venturi Home).
  • Have neighbors call the police when they see the abuser at your home - develop a signal to alert them to danger (flipping on a porch light, etc.).
  • Take a self-defense course and carry a noisemaker or personal alarm.
  • Animal cruelty is family violence. For information on protecting pets, please visit The Humane Society of The United States website at


Protect Yourself Outside Your Home:

  • Change routes to work, school, stores and ride with others; shop and bank in new places.
  • Cancel joint bank accounts and credit cards; open new accounts in your name only at a different bank.
  • Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times!
  • If you have to travel to another state, take your Injunction for Protection with you - it is valid everywhere in the United States.
  • Carry noisemakers or pepper spray/mace.



Be Safe at Work:

  • Keep a copy of your court order at work.
  • Give/show a picture of your abuser to supervisors/security guards, receptionists and friends. Ask someone to screen your calls.
  • Park in a well-lit space close to the door; ask security or a coworker to walk you to your car, bus, and lunch.
  • Save all voicemail messages and emails from the abuser.



Actions to Consider:

  • Call 911 in emergencies and to report the violence.
  • Seek an Injunction for Protection to keep the abuser away - our Advocates can assist: 239.775.1101.
  • Have medical staff document your injuries and their cause.
  • Call The Shelter's confidential 24-hour crisis line: 239.775.1101.
  • Keep a journal and photos of the abuse (keep this in a spot where the abuser will not find it).


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Prepare an Escape Bag:

Keep this bag/box/suitcase in a safe place away from home (at work or a friend's). Place 'originals' in the bag except for items you must carry with you or things you can't take without the abuser knowing. Do not use your car or purse.

  • Identification for you and your children: driver's license, birth certificates, Social Security or Green cards
  • Extra keys: car, house, storage, business, etc.
  • Checkbook, ATM Card, credit cards, bank books, etc.
  • Address book and phone numbers
  • Food stamps, Medicaid cards, insurance cards, etc.
  • Car registration; car, health and life insurance papers
  • School and medical records
  • Divorce, custody or injunction papers
  • Proof of your partner's income (copy of a check stub)
  • Home calling card (calls can be traced and cell phones have GPS in them)
  • Copies of bills you owe with partner
  • Change of clothes
  • Medications and prescriptions for you, your children and pets (bring extra)
  • Personal hygiene products (toothbrushes, tampons, deodorant, etc.); diapers, formula, toys, blankets
  • Pictures, jewelry, keepsakes
  • Abuser's personal information (date of birth, Social Security number, work permit information, place of employment, vehicle description and license plate)
  • Picture of family which includes abuser
  • Lease or titles of property