Call 911 if you are in danger or need help.
- Talk to a friend or relative you trust for moral support.
- Contact your local domestic violence assistance program or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Domestic violence programs can assist you in finding out about laws, shelters, counseling and financial assistance.
- If your friends or relatives are aware of your situation, set up signal code words either by phone or alternative methods that informs them that the situation at home is violent.
- If you have children, notify the school of any possible threats and/or the current custody situation. Make sure the school knows who can and cannot pick up the children and/or receive information about them or you.
- If you plan on leaving the home, make sure you have a plan. Keep an emergency bag with someone you trust that contains a change of clothes for yourself and for your children, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and emergency cash. Take important papers and documents of yourself and of your children with you. Important papers may include: identification cards, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage license, checkbooks, property titles, credit cards, bank statements, pay check stubs (yours and your spouse's). Also, take with you documentation of past abuse (i.e. photos, police reports, medical records, etc.).
What you can do if your spouse threatens to take your children away:
- Immediately obtain a custody order. The order can include an order to prohibit your spouse from taking the children from the county or country in which you live.
- Give a copy of the custody order to the children's schools and let them know not to release the children to anyone but you or someone you designate.
- Make sure you keep recent photos, passports, and birth certificates of the children. Keep a list of addresses and phone numbers of your spouse's friends and relatives whether they are local or in his country of origin.