If you are questioning something that is happening to you, call us at our 24-hour hotline (661) 259-HELP (4357), or non-emergency (661)259-8175, for confidential information and support.
Please know that you don’t have to be in a crisis to call the 24-Hour Support Line!
IF YOU ARE IN DANGER CALL 911
DVC operates a 24-hour hotline staffed by trained advocates who provide counseling, information, referrals, and access to immediate shelter. Staff members are also available to meet in person with potential residents to help formulate safety and shelter plans.
Our services include:
- Accompaniment to court, follow-up interviews and meetings
- Assistance with access to shelter
- Case management
- Childcare while receiving services at the center
- Civil law services, such as restraining orders, custody and divorce issues, and “U Visa”
- Education and employment planning
- Emotional support
- Financial assessment and planning
- Housing assessment and planning
- Safety planning
- Support groups
Your Safety Is Important!
- An advocate will help you make a detailed safety plan for home, work and in public.
- If you can’t avoid an argument; be in a room with an exit.
- Avoid bathrooms, kitchens, garages or any area that is near weapons.
- Practice how to get yourself and your children out of your home safely.
- Have a bag packed and keep it at the home of a trusted relative or friend. Pack important papers, extra keys, medication, money, etc.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors to let them know you need police assistance.
- Make a plan of where you will go if you leave.
Many victims of domestic violence who choose to leave their abusive relationships may need a safe place to stay with their children. DVC provides domestic violence victims with access to emergency shelter and transitional housing. Women and children may stay in our confidential emergency shelter for up to 30 days. At our shelter, they receive emotional support, food, clothing, goal planning assistance; advocacy for medical, legal and financial resources; information and referrals. Residents and children participate in counseling, parenting groups, Windows Between Worlds art expression and nightly support groups.
Developing a Safety Plan – Before You Leave
To help ensure your safety, and the safety of your children, it is critical that you develop a comprehensive plan prior to leaving an abusive situation. The following are steps to consider.
- Make arrangements that, in the event of an emergency, you and your children can stay with someone you trust. Preferably someone that your partner doesn’t know.
- Ask neighbors to call 911 if they hear suspicious noises coming from your home.
- Know important telephone numbers (police, friends, hotline, shelter)
- If you sense a violent episode is imminent, and it is safe to do so, disable or hide weapons.
- Teach your children to call 911
- Practice getting yourself, and your children, out of your home safely. Pre-identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairwell would work best. Make a plan for what to do if you, and your children, become separated.
- Put together an Escape Kit and place it somewhere safe and accessible, such as a friend’s house. NOT in your home.
- Advise your employer/coworkers to never speak with your abuser without first checking with you, and to never give information about you to anyone.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, neighbors, your children’s school officials, your employer, etc. when you need the police.
- Open a savings account, in your name only, at a bank different from where your abuser’s account(s) is.
- Do not leave behind any notes/doodles with shelter/bus/airline information .
Creating an Escape Kit
Before leaving the abuser, you should remember to take important papers such as government-issued identification and birth certificates. It may not be safe for you to return home for some time and these papers will be invaluable as you seek emergency shelter and/or new housing. The abuser may also destroy valuables or other sentimental items once you leave home. The type of items you may want to take include the following:
- Keys – house, car, office, safe, garage, cabin, boat, motorcycle, etc.
- Money: cash and coins, enough for transportation, food and lodging for a few days. Your abuser will be able to trace you through a credit card and may close/empty bank accounts before you can get to them or may be waiting for you at the bank.
- Extra clothing for you and your children for all types of weather
- Infant formula, diapers, etc.
- Telephone calling cards
- Children’s toys, security blankets, stuffed animals
- Current unpaid bills/copies of monthly bills
- Personalized safety plan
- Address books/calendars/appointment books
- Public Assistance ID/Medicaid Cards
Important Documents/Paperwork (originals or photocopies)
- Government-issued identification for self and children
- Birth/Adoption certificates for self and/or children
- Social Security cards for self and children
- Passports, green cards, work permits, visas
- Insurance papers (car/health)
- Order of Protection, police reports, restraining order,
- Bank books, check books, safety deposit box key
- Marriage, divorce or separation papers
- Income Tax returns, pay stubs
- Professional licenses, certificates, diplomas
- Membership cards (trade unions, professional organizations, etc.)
- Paternity papers, as necessary
- School/vaccination records, dental records, clinic cards
- Lease, rental agreement, or house deed
- Car/mortgage payment book
Valuables/ Items of Sentimental Value
- Sentimental items, photos
- Small sellable items (TVs, cameras, computers, Ipods, Ipads, art, etc.)
Developing a Safety Plan – After You Leave
It is also crucial to have a plan to increase your safety, and that of your children, for after you leave the abusive situation. Here are some important steps to consider:
- Get a restraining order against your abuser
- Inform family, friends, neighbors that you have a restraining order in effect.
- Keep a copy of your restraining order with you at all times. Keep another copy somewhere in your home and put one in your car. Give a copy to the local police where you live and where you work. Give a copy to your employer and to officials at your children’s school, day care facility or with their babysitter. If possible, attach a photo of your abuser to the copies you place at work and at your children’s day care.
- Inform the people who take care of your children who has permission to pick up your children
- Avoid stores, banks, restaurants, theaters, etc. you used to frequent when you were with your partner.
- If your abuser violates the restraining order, call the police.
- Have a back-up plan in the event the police does not respond quickly!
- Change your locks and secure your residence.
- If you have thoughts of returning to a potentially abusive situation, attend support groups or call someone for support.
DVC is here to help with trained advocates who can assist with additional information on precautions against being traced/stalked, or for assistance in developing a safety plan.
You Have Legal Rights
You can ask for a restraining order. A restraining order can help you by ordering the restrained person to:
- Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives or others who live with you
- Not have a gun
- Move out of your home
- Follow child custody and visitation orders
- Pay child and spousal/partner support
- Stay away from your pet(s)