How To Report Domestic Violence

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Domestic violence is an all too common tragedy. Whether you are reporting abuse that has happened to you or to someone you know, it isn't easy to know where to turn. Use this guide to help you report domestic violence.

Call 911

When domestic violence occurs, emergency help is a phone call away. Dial the number, and try to stay on the line until help arrives. If the violence is continuing, try to find a safe place to await help. When the police arrive, they can help you and your children leave your home safely or they can arrest your abuser. Be prepared to describe the situation to the police in detail. This includes sharing where you were hit and displaying any marks that may have resulted. Also point out any property that was damaged in the attack. Ask for information from the officers, such as their names and badge numbers. You'll also want the report number, as all of this information will be helpful when it comes to prosecuting your abuser.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline

If you are not under immediate attack, then you may benefit from contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can be reached at (800) 799-SAFE or online at www.thehotline.org/help/. The hotline's services are completely confidential and available 24/7. Advocates who work for the hotline are highly trained. They can help victims of abuse find the help they need by putting them in touch with shelters and other helpful organizations. The website features a comprehensive list of assistance organizations that specialize in helping the victims of abuse. With their resources, workers employed at the hotline help victims cut off contact with their abusive partners and find the support they need to move forward.

Show Up In Court

If police charges have been filed after you reported abuse, then it is important to follow up. The court system can only do so much without the cooperation of the victim. When the victim gets involved and testifies in court, an appropriate conviction becomes much more likely. Be certain to obtain and keep copies of all police reports and medical records that will help to support your testimony. Evidence like this can also help you to obtain a personal protection order or a restraining order against your abuser. These orders are another tool that help put distance between you and the person who abused you.

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