Concept of domestic abuse. Battered woman escaping from man silhouetted at the top of the stairs, in fear of more violence

How to Reach Out for Support in an Abusive Relationship

Reaching out for support can be difficult or dangerous when your partner is abusive, particularly if your partner has isolated you from your friends and loved ones. If your partner checks your text history and call log – or denies you of a phone completely – you may feel like you have no safe avenue to reach out for help.

Organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline can help abuse victims reach out for support. But if you can’t find a safe way to communicate or can’t get a safe phone, you may have to resort to other options.

Ask a Neighbor or Friend

If you can’t get a safe phone, you may consider asking a friend or neighbor that your trust to use their phone to call for support.

“Making the call from a friend or neighbor’s home may provide you with a safe place to reach out for much-needed support,” recommend experts.

Turn Your Current Phone into a Semi-Safe Phone

If you have a phone and are concerned that your partner may read your messages or check your call log, you can take careful steps to make sure your phone is semi-safe.

Delete text messages and phone call logs. If you have a smartphone, you can also clear your browsing history, so your partner cannot see which websites you visited.

If you have a friend or family member you trust, consider setting a code word that you can text whenever you need help. When your friend receives the text, he or she will know to take an agreed-upon action to help you.

Get a Secret Phone

Consider getting a secret phone if you can safely do so. Keep the phone at work, with a trusted friend, or somewhere your partner doesn’t have access to.

Pre-paid or pay-as-you-go phones are an inexpensive option that will allow you to get support when you need it most.

Use 911 in an Emergency

If your abusive partner has cut off your cell service, you can still call 911 in emergencies. Keep the phone charged and carry it with you, so you can call 911 if you need to.

If you have a smartphone, you may still be able to connect to Wi-Fi to reach out for online support. Local libraries and community centers often have free Wi-Fi available.

Use the Web to Your Advantage

If you cannot use a safe phone, you may be able to use the Internet to reach out for help. Services like Skype and Google Voice can help. Facebook also allows you to call friends who are online.

Use a Public Phone

Pay phones are not as common as they once were, but you can still find them in local libraries and community centers. These facilities may also have public phones that you can use to make safe calls. Apartment complexes sometimes have business centers that offer phone and/or Internet access.

If you’re having trouble locating a pay or public phone, you can use the Internet to find one nearby.