Domestic violence and abuse


If you or your children are being abused or are in danger, call the police right away. You should also contact a legal aid, who can help keep you safe. 

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Understanding the Basics

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It’s not always easy to recognize or even admit when domestic abuse is happening to you. That’s because abuse can take over the entire relationship. It can be hard to see it for what it really is.

If your spouse or intimate partner...

  • Uses fear, bullying or money to control you or your children
  • Harms you or your children physically or sexually
  • Constantly insults you or your children 
  • Prevents you and your children from seeing family or friends
  • Threatens you and your children with harm

…they are being abusive.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, no matter what their background is. It can happen to men and women. It can happen in same-sex relationships. The important thing to remember is you’re not alone. And you’re not powerless. 

Three ways to get help 

If you or your children are being abused:

  • Call 911 if you or anyone else is in immediate danger.
  • Talk to a domestic violence expert. See the "Local Government and Community Resources" section on this page for organizations that can help. Or you can call the Ohio Domestic Violence Network at (800) 934-9840. They can help you think through all your options.
  • Get a lawyer. If you have a low income, you might qualify for legal aid. To quickly find your local legal aid, use our "Find Your Legal Aid" tool. You also can find nonprofits that offer free legal help in your area on this page under "Legal Help and Lawyers."

The police can help protect you and your family in the short term. A lawyer or domestic violence organization can help make sure you're safe in the longer term. For example, they can help you and your family find a place to stay. They can also help you file a Civil Protection Order. A Civil Protection Order is a court document that can be used to order someone to stay away from you and your family.   

If you are filing for divorce and can't get a lawyer, make sure that you mention the abuse when you file. Mentioning the abuse in your "temporary orders" can help you and your kids stay safe until the divorce is final. See more about temporary orders. 

Staying safe online

Abusive people commonly misuse technology to track their partners’ activities. Please be sure to use a safe device when looking for information and reaching out for help.

Wiping out the search history related to domestic abuse can be one helpful piece of staying safe. Learn how to clear your browsing and search history from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 

For general safety tips, information and privacy strategies geared for survivors using technology, use a safe device to view the Technology Safety & Privacy Toolkit from the National Network to End Domestic Violence.