What to do if you're being abused
If you are currently in an abusive situation, the following information could assist you.
- You are not alone. You are not responsible. You can get help.
- To protect yourself from domestic violence, you have to know your rights.
Have a plan of action
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you need to start planning what you would do in a crisis situation. This is critical for the safety of you and your children.
- This plan could include storing emergency clothes, money, special children’s toys, important documents, addresses and telephone numbers and duplicate car keys with someone you trust.
- Plan how to contact emergency help at any time. It may be useful to agree on signals with a neighbour if you can’t get to a telephone.
- Always carry a list of emergency numbers with you.
- Make sure that the people you usually visit have a copy of the protection order and/or the warrant of arrest.
Whether or not you decide to leave the abusive situation, one of the national helplines or support services can help you to plan how to leave in an emergency and find a place of safety.
- If you decide to move away, make sure it is safe and that you cannot be traced straight away.
- Leave when your partner is not around, and take your children with you.
- Make sure that you have all essential documents.
If you urgently need a place of safety and protection, please click here for the Vital Foundation's list of safe houses and shelters.
Getting a protection order
Because violent or unstable people commit abuse, those reporting the abuse may fear for their safety. Under the Domestic Violence Act and the Children’s Act, it is possible to obtain a Protection Order to prevent the perpetrator of the abuse from gaining access to his or her victim or the person reporting the abuse.
1. Report to the police
Before a Protection Order can be granted, the abuser must first be reported to the police.
2. Magistrate's Court
The order can then be obtained from the Magistrate’s Court to prevent the abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim.
Important telephone numbers:
- Woman Abuse helpline: 0800 150 150
- Childline 24hr helpline: 0800 055 555
- SAPS Emergency Services: 10111
- Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567
- Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 555 999
- Crimeline: 32211
- Gender Violence Centre: 0800 428 428 – for a social worker dial *120*7867#
Source: The Vital Foundation