what to expect when you call the hotline

What To Expect When You Call

Every call to The Hotline comes from someone different. Some callers identify as survivors of abuse, some as abusers, and some as concerned family members and friends seeking help for someone else. While every call is specific to the individual, here are some phrases and questions that advocates consistently communicate to best help each caller.

“Thanks for reaching out.”
Calling The Hotline can be nerve-racking, especially if you haven’t reached out for help before. Our calls are completely confidential and anonymous and our advocates have extensive training in domestic violence matters. Reaching out for help is the first step to improving your situation, whatever that may be. We say this line to let you know how happy we are that you’re taking the first step toward getting the help you deserve.

“Are you in a safe place to chat?”
It’s critical for your safety that you reach out when your partner isn’t home. If your partner does come home or walk in while you’re talking with an advocate, immediately disconnect the call. Because abusive relationships are based on power and control, an abusive partner is likely to react in anger as you take steps to regain control. Another way to stay safe is to remember to delete our number from your phone and clear your internet browser history after visiting our website.

“Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your situation?”
Before an advocate can begin helping you, she or he has to know your specific situation. This gives you an opportunity to bring up any concerns you’ve had about your relationship. Sometimes, giving a relationship timeline or explaining a recent altercation with your partner can give the advocate a better idea about what you’ve experienced.

“What have you considered doing at this point?”
You are the expert of your own situation. Callers reach out at all different times in their relationships, so advocates need to know what steps you’re ready to take before they can help you find resources. While an advocate won’t give explicit advice on what you should do next, you can talk out some options to make the best decision for yourself.

“How are you taking care of yourself?”
Self-wellness is important at any stage of a relationship. Especially in the matter of abusive relationships, it is easy to forget about keeping yourself healthy and happy. Taking care of yourself may be as simple as eating a good breakfast to prepare for the day or getting enough sleep at night. Advocates often suggest writing in a journal, reading a good book or taking a bubble bath to ease your mind.

“Let’s brainstorm together.”
Whether you are deciding how to communicate better with your partner, planning on leaving the relationship or finding things that you can do to feel safe, there is always more than one right answer and an advocate can help you sort through the options to determine the best one for you.

“Is there anything else I can help you with tonight?”
Maybe over the course of your conversation with an advocate, you thought of another question you had or feel more comfortable asking something you were scared to ask before. Advocates are always available to answer your questions about healthy relationships and how to handle an unhealthy or abusive relationship, so don’t hesitate to ask.

The advocates at our Hotline are available 365 days a year, 24/7 to take your calls. Read more about what types of things The Hotline can help you with here, and don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

9 replies
  1. Tawana Collier says:

    Please help me to understand how I can help my older sister and her son the husband monitors everything she does and she is moving into the house with me she only has a few dollars I don’t have much who can help her

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Tawana, Thank you for reaching out to the Share Your Voice Blog. If I read your posting correctly, it sounds like your sister is now living with you. I hope so. This would mean you can help her safely contact us or the local DV Shelter for help. Many people don’t realize that a victim of DV may get help from local programs without having to live in the shelter. But, please have her call us at The Hotline, 1-800-799-7233. Among other referrals, I would like to connect her to the local program where she could get counseling, casemanagement, referrels for other community resources. Call us yourself for support as well. We know these situations are very challenging for family and friends. The book, “Helping Her Get Free”, by Susan Brewster has information for family of a person in an abusive relationship-or just getting out. The website,www.womenslaw.org also has a tab called “Helping Others” that provides information for family and friends of a person experiencing abuse and tips for helping with
      safety planning
      We are always here and would like to help you all do some safety planning, too.

  2. Molly says:

    Thank you for your response to this comment and the information about womenslaw.org and the book about helping a victim of domestic violence. I am a parent whose daughter is in a very verbally violent and abusive marriage. I hope to pass some of this information on to her in the hope that she will find the courage and strength to move on to a much better life without him, for her own safety and the safety of her children and her other mother (I’m her birth mother) – her adoptive mother who raised her.

  3. COnFUSED says:

    hello there…I just got married in march this yr, I came here in the US with a K1 visa thru my hubby now…I had a good a job then, now that I’m here with my husband, I haven’t got any choice but to stay at home for the moment since I’m still waiting for the employment authorization and my docs are still on process for the adjustment of status.

    the problem is, my husband seems to have Bipolar, he’s good but his temper is really different. When he gets mad, even to simple things, it’s expected that he’ll put the blame on me, telling me stuff that I’m the one who is bringing bad luck to him. and when the school report of his kids, since he has 2 boys, (17 & 11) came and they were having poor grades because they stay on the computer most of the time, he was still blaming me, telling me that I should’ve taught his kids, and the fact that I just lived with them in March this year. He is even telling me that I should leave him the moment I have my greencard. He’s calling me names and even uses my skype account and add people and then tell me that I’ve been talking to different people.

    I’m so frustrated and feeling helpless. I’ve been working my whole life and never been a burden to no one since I don’t have a family of my own. I’m a decent woman and I just came here in the US because we decided to settle down, though we met online, I never dated people then except for the dad of my only child. I couldn’t have a goodnight sleep, thinking that his temper will hit me again since his so fickle-minded.

    I don’t wanna stay with the relationship since it’s a cycle and a torture to me. I married him because I thought he’s the one but since I came here and live with him, I was never happy. Please help me, tell me what to do.

    thanks and God bless…

    • HotlineAdmin_MCo says:

      Confused,

      Wow! That seems like an incredibly frustrating and scary situation. Thank you so much for reaching out, I know sharing one’s story can be difficult. One of the things that abusers do is try to blame you for everything because that way they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. This is a tactic that he is trying to use to maintain power and control over you. But you haven’t done anything wrong and there is nothing you could have done to make him be abusive. Violence is always a choice.

      You are not alone. There are many immigrant women who go through similar situations. And you are protected under the Violence Against Women Act. I would encourage you to call us at 1(800)799.7233. We are confidential and anonymous and we are here 24/7. We can get you connected to local resources where you can get the support that you need, including help in filing for your papers without him. You can take back your life and we are here to help.

      Until then,
      Hotline Advocate MC

  4. cant move on says:

    I was in an abusive relationship for over a year. He was sweet, funny and romantic but he had a nasty temper. The first time he ever hit me I was a few weeks pregnant and I was fussing about money. He pushed me in the street and when I tried to fight back he choked me. After that I terminated the pregnancy behind his back. When he found out he literally dragged me down the street by my hair, I was so embarrassed. Finallyi decided I wanted out so I told him to pack his things and get out. Bad idea, he tried to tie me up, suffocate me with a pillow and stab me with a kitchen knife. I had to jump out of my bedroom window to get away from him. When the cops came all they did was make him leave saying it was my word against his. A month later he was arrested for something else thank god but I have been on edge everyday since the incident. Its been a year I want to move on but its so hard idk what to do. I cry randomly, I have nightmares sometimes and I have a hard time talking about the incident without getting emotional. I didn’t think I would still be here after a year.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Dear can’t move on,
      I’m sorry you were in such an abusive relationship. There are a few things I would like to comment on. Many abusers are charming, sweet, funny, etc. Often victims say they are like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They use their character shifts to manipulate people and fool many into thinking they are fantastic individuals. They’re not! Many abusers are worse when their partners are pregnant. They will often target the womb when attacking their partner. You wrote about being choked which is extremely dangerous. Choking and/or strangulation increases the possibility of a person loosing their life to domestic violence. When you got fed up you told him to get out. You said it was a “bad idea”. We often suggest to callers that they not tell their abusers when they are planning to leave. This will often make the abuser more aggressive. We suggest a victim talk to their local domestic violence agency, make a plan for departure, get all their ducks in a row, and leave without telling the abuser beforehand. We can help you with all of this information and planning at the National Domestic Violence hotlind, (800) 799-7233. I’m glad you’re out of the relationship. You may want to consider getting a protection order in case he is released from jail soon.
      Hotline Advocate_MT

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