Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all income groups, all ages, all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear, and shame.
Are You Abused?
Does the Person You Love...
- Keep track of all of your time?
- Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
- Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
- Prevent you from working or attending school?
- Criticize you for little things?
- Anger easily when drinking or using other drugs?
- Control all finances and force you to account in detail for what you spend?
- Humiliate you in front of others?
- Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
- Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or the children?
- Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
- Threaten to hurt you or the children?
- Force you to have sex against your will?
If you find yourself saying yes to any of these - it's time to get help.
Don't Ignore the Problem
- Talk to someone. Part of the abuser's power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family problems. Go to a friend or neighbor, or call a domestic violence hotline to talk to a counselor.
- Plan ahead and know what you will do if you're attacked again. If you decide to leave, choose a place to go; set aside some money. Put important papers - marriage license, birth certificates, checkbooks - in a place where you can get them quickly.
- Learn to think independently. Try to plan for the future and set goals for yourself.
If You Are Hurt, What Can You Do?
There are no easy answers, but there are things you can do to protect yourself.
- Call the police. Assault, even by family members, is a crime. The police often have information about shelters and other agencies that help victims of domestic violence.
- Leave, or have someone come and stay with you. Go to a battered women's shelter - call a crisis hotline in your community or a health center to locate a shelter. If you believe that you, and your children, are in danger - leave immediately.
- Get medical attention from your doctor or a hospital emergency room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in case you decide to take legal action.
- Contact your family court for information about a civil protection order that does not involve criminal charges or penalties.
- Accept the fact that your violent behavior will destroy your family. Be aware that you break the law when you physically hurt someone.
- Take responsibility for your actions and get help.
- When you feel tension building, get away. Work off the angry energy through a walk, a project, a sport.
- Call a domestic violence hotline or health center and ask about counseling and support groups for people who batter.
The High Costs of Domestic Violence
- Men and women who follow their parents' example and use violence to solve conflicts are teaching the same destructive behavior to their children.
- Jobs can be lost or careers stalled because of injuries, arrests, or harassment.
- Violence may even result in death.
The FVSVU is located on the 2nd floor of the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County (FJC) at 711 E. Colfax, South Bend, Indiana. The FVSVU is open 8:00 - 4:30, Monday - Friday. Phone: 574-235-7818.
The FVSVU office is committed to serving St. Joseph County families who have experience any type of domestic abuse. In an effort to fulfill this commitment, the Family Violence/Special Victims Unit offers the following services free of charge:
- Assistance in filling out paperwork for protective orders.
- ADT pendant alarms
- 911 cellular phones
- Answering machines
- Individual case management/advocacy and referrals
You do not deserve to be hit, threatened, or sexually assaulted. Do not suffer alone. Please call 574.235.7818 if you are interested in any of these services.
The YWCA of St. Joseph County has the county's only Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Indiana Family and Social Service Administration accredited residential and non-residential bi-lingual services for women and children escaping abusive relationships, including:
Safe Crisis Housing/Shelter
Food, Clothing, and Personal Necessities
Violence Support Groups
Sexual Assault Counseling
Counseling and Case Management for Children
Childcare During Programming
Advocacy and Referrals
Access to Healthcare Services
Transitional Housing (for up to two years)
Outreach Domestic Violence and Dating Violence
Education Non-Residential Services for Male Victims of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Hotline
Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence