Legal Safety

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

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Did you know?

A lawyer or attorney can provide the support you need to stay strong and get through your situation. Your attorney can help you understand your rights under the law and connect you to social services that will help you after securing protective orders.

Some issues your attorney can assist you with include:
  • Navigating legal issues and processes
  • Filing a PFA (Protection from Abuse)
  • Gathering evidence of abuse
  • Filing for divorce
  • Obtaining child custody and support

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Document everything for legal purposes, if you feel safe doing so:

Visit the doctor.

Many doctors are trained to recognize signs of abuse. Your health care provider could also be a safe resource for disclosing abuse. If you’re visiting a doctor for an injury, ask them about safe ways they can make notes about the abuse without having to go to the police.

Consider outside documentation.

Do you have a trusted friend, coworker, or family member who knows what’s going on and would be willing to help? There are many ways they can help document the abuse – whether that’s a coworker making note of times your partner calls you at the office or a friend holding your journal at their house.

Create a stalking/abuse log, diary, or journal.

If you think someone is stalking you, creating a stalking log can be very helpful for your case. Document information like date of incident, time of incident, location of incident, approximate length of incident, name of abuser, witnesses, description of what the abuser did or what the abuser said, how you felt as a result (scared, unsafe, threatened, traumatized, hurt, etc.), police officer information if the police were involved, and note supporting evidence like pictures, medical records, or police case number.

Learn about police reports.

Call your local police department’s non-emergency number and find out about protocols and procedures for filing a police report. You could ask, “I would like to learn more about filing a police report and what information I would need to provide, should anything happen in the future.”
Always ask questions. This can help you prepare for filing a police report if you need to, which creates a paper trail of abuse.

Take pictures.

A digital camera or your phone camera may not always be safe. Consider getting a disposable camera. Another option is for someone else to take pictures and keep them for you.

Let it go to voicemail.

Are you receiving calls over and over? Let it go to voicemail once and save the voicemail.

Save digital evidence.

Do you have a smartphone? Most have the “take a screenshot” option. If you have an excessive number of calls from your abuser, take a screenshot of that. Threatening texts? Instead of responding to them, take a screenshot of them. These screenshots get saved in your images folder, so remember to send them on to a friend and delete them. If your abuser sends threatening emails, don’t respond to them, but consider saving them in a folder in your inbox.

For additional support, please view our list of helpful apps:

Other Safety Resources

Physical Safety
Financial Safety
Technological Safety
Emotional Safety
Helpful Apps

This page provides information, content and materials for general informational purposes on domestic violence and related subjects. The words and other content provided on this webpage, and in any linked materials, are not intended to be and should not be construed as medical, mental health, or legal advice related to domestic violence nor can the information deemed to be the most up-to-date, as this information is continuously developing. The links to other third-party websites are for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; MTAP does not recommend or endorse the content of the third-party websites.

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