Crisis Hotline



Domestic Violence

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If You Are in Immediate Danger, Please Call 911

You are not alone.

REACH recognizes that navigating an abusive relationship is difficult. Your safety is important. There are steps you can take to plan for your safety, whether you plan to remain in the relationship or are preparing to leave.

You have choices.

REACH can help you identify resources that may be useful. REACH will not force you to leave your partner if that is not the right decision for you. Use the tips below if you feel safe doing so.

Remember leaving is the most dangerous time. REACH does not have an emergency shelter. If you are in need of emergency shelter to flee a domestic violence situation, call:

Alternatives to Domestic Violence
800-339-SAFE (7233)

Shelter from the Storm of Palm Desert
Emergency Crisis Domestic Violence Hotline Numbers
760-328-SAFE (7233)
Toll-Free: 800-775-6055

National Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
TTY 1-800-787-3224

What to expect when calling a shelter

Every shelter is different, however there are some common questions that you may be asked:

  • Are you safe/in a safe place to talk?
  • Questions to determine the level of danger in your situation.
  • Questions regarding prior or current substance use.
  • Do you have children in your custody?
  • Current medications
  • Whereabouts of the abusive partner
  • Do you need accommodations for a disability?
  • Do you have pets? (Not all shelters accept pets)

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

What to expect if there is no space available/denied assistance

Inquire regarding hotel vouchers

  • Ask the shelter if they are aware of others in the area that might have available.
  • Keep a clear log of what shelters you have contacted and the requirements to stay on that particular shelter’s waitlist so you can keep track.
  • Calling 211 may be another option to help identify other possibilities for shelter.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Safety Planning

REACH believes that everyone deserves to live without fear, abuse, or violence. You are not to blame for the abusive actions of others and your safety is our priority.

At any given moment you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end.

-Christine Mason Miller

You have options, we are here to support you, REACH an advocate at 866-373-8300.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

These safety planning techniques may not work for everyone — and you are the expert on your situation.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Safety Planning While Living with an Abusive Partner

Living with an abusive partner can make it especially hard to identify or create opportunities to leave. Here are some important steps you can take to help prepare to leave an abusive living situation:

  • Identify your partner’s use and level of force so you can assess the risk of physical danger to yourself and others before it occurs.
  • Identify safe areas in your residence with pathways to exit, away from any weapons. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas before they escalate.
  • If safe, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help, including friends or family, The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), and your local shelter. Know where the nearest public phone is located.
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know about your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you might need their help. Give them clear instructions on who you do or do not want them to contact in moments of crisis, including law enforcement.
  • Talk to others living in the residence about how to get help, including children or roommates. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner and work with them to establish a mutual signal for when they should get help or leave the house.
  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night. Ex. multiple trips to the grocery store, spending time with friends, staying at work longer, find unnecessary errands to complete.
  • If possible, practice how to get out safely, including with others who may be living in the residence.
    Plan for what to do if your partner finds out about your plan.
  • If possible, keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and stored as inaccessibly as possible. If you are concerned about your safety, please reach out to an Advocate.
  • Be mindful of how clothing or jewelry could be used to physically harm you. For example, if your partner has put their hands around your neck, avoid wearing scarves or jewelry that can be used to harm you.
  • Back your car into your driveway when you park at home and keep it fueled. If possible, keep the driver’s door unlocked with the rest of the doors locked to allow for quick access to the vehicle.
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself as physically small as possible. Move to a corner and curl into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Safety Planning with Children

If you have children, be sure your safety plan includes ways to keep them safe when violence occurs and important details to remember while preparing to leave and after.

Physical safety at home

  • Teach your children when, how, and who to contact during an emergency.
  • This can include trusted friends, family members, neighbors, local service providers, and more.
  • If possible, instruct them to leave the home when situations begin to escalate and establish where they can go. Create a plan ahead of time with trusted people who your children can turn to during a moment of crisis.
  • Come up with a code word for when to leave the house in an emergency and make sure they know not to tell others what the secret word means.
  • Identify a room in the house that they can go to when they’re afraid, and something calming they can focus on for comfort.
  • Instruct them to stay out of areas containing items that could be used to harm them, including kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Teach them that they shouldn’t try to intervene in moments of violence, even though they may want to protect their parents.
  • Plan for what you will do if your children tell your partner of your plan, and remember never to blame them for their responses to your partner’s abusive behavior.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Preparing to Leave

The moment of leaving an abusive relationship can happen quickly, but the process of leaving takes an immense amount of courage, planning, and precaution against the risk of violence. Here are several measures you can take to prepare before you actually leave.

  • Record evidence of physical abuse, like pictures of injuries. If possible, keep a journal of violent incidents, noting dates, events, and any threats made. Store your journal in a safe place.
  • Establish where you can go to get help. If you’re comfortable doing so, tell someone trusted about what’s happening.
  • Plan with your children and identify a safe place where they can go during moments of crisis, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  • When preparing to go to a shelter, if you can, call ahead to see what the shelter’s policies are. They can give you information on how they can help, and how to secure a space when it’s time to leave. Our advocates can also provide you with local resources.
  • Try to set money aside or ask trusted friends or family members to hold money for you somewhere an abusive partner can’t reach it.
  • If relevant and feasible, pursue job skills or educational qualifications that expand your opportunities for independence.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

When You Leave

Our expert advocates are ready to help you come up with a personalized path to safety, but if you’re forced to leave in a hurry, use the following list of items as a quick guide for what to bring with you:


  • Driver’s license or state ID card
  • Birth certificate and children’s birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Financial information
  • Money and/or credit cards (in your name)
  • Checking and/or savings account books

Legal papers

  • Protective order, if applicable (make multiple copies if possible)
  • Copies of any lease or rental agreements or the deed to your home.
  • Car registration and insurance papers
  • Health and life insurance papers
  • Medical records for you and your children.
  • School records
  • Work permits/Green Cards/visas
  • Passport
  • Any legal documents, including divorce and custody papers.
  • Marriage license

Emergency numbers

  • Attorney
  • Local domestic violence program or shelter
  • Trusted friends and family members
  • Your doctor’s office and hospital
  • Criminal legal resources
  • Children’s school
  • The Hotline

Other items to keep in mind

  • Medications and refills (if possible)
  • Emergency items, like food, bottles of water, and a first aid kit
  • Multiple changes of clothes for you and your children
  • Emergency money
  • Address book
  • Extra sets of house and car keys
  • Pictures and sentimental items
  • Valuable items, such as jewelry
  • Safe cell phone, if necessary

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

After You Leave

Your safety plan should always include ways to ensure your continued safety after leaving an abusive relationship. Here are some precautions to consider:

  • Change your locks and phone number if possible.
  • If possible, change your work hours and the route you take to get there.
  • Alert school authorities of the situation. If there is a protection order in place, provide a copy to the school. Designate who is and is not allowed to pick your children up from school. If possible, change the route taken to transport children to school; if necessary, consider changing your children’s schools.
  • If you have a protection order, keep a certified copy of it with you at all times, and inform friends, neighbors and employers that you have a protection order in effect. If you move to a new state, register your protection order with the courts in your new state.
  • Consider renting a post office box or using a trusted friend’s address for your mail (remember that addresses are used for restraining orders and police reports — be careful who you give your address and phone number to). Your state may have an address confidentiality program to protect your privacy. Contact an advocate to see if your state has this program.
  • Reschedule appointments that your partner might be aware of.
  • If possible and necessary, use different stores and frequent different social spots.
  • Alert neighbors and work colleagues about how and when to seek help if they feel you may be in danger (if you feel comfortable doing so). Be clear about who you do or do not want them to contact, including law enforcement.
  • Tell people who take care of your children (if you are comfortable doing so) or transport them to/from school and activities. Explain your situation and provide them with a copy of your restraining order if you have one.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Protections for non-U.S. citizens
  • The Immigrant Legal Resource Center and offer information about your rights as an immigrant. Further information about resources available to non-U.S. citizens can be found here.
  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) states that people without citizenship status who are experiencing domestic violence and are married to abusers who are U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents may qualify to self-petition for legal status. Learn more about USCIS guidelines concerning VAWA.
  • Victims of certain crimes including domestic abuse and trafficking may be eligible for specific visas based on certain eligibility requirements.
  • Legal actions to escape abuse can come with their own risks of immigration consequences depending on the findings of the judge who presides over your petition. A specialized immigration attorney should always be your first point of contact for immigration questions and concerns.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Create your own safety plan

To create your own safety plan, please click here.

Additional Tips
  • If you have a car and are out of options for places to stay, most Walmart parking lots let you park your car overnight.
  • Try to hide money away in a place your partner wouldn’t think to look.
  • Try saving threatening voicemails, text messages, emails, or any other correspondence which may become evidence if you decide to file for a protective order.
  • If you’re thinking about getting a protective order, consider that some states allow pets to be a part of these.
  • Check the website Safe Haven for Pets for services that assist domestic violence survivors with safekeeping for their pets.
  • For short-term housing and care for your children, Olive Crest may be able to help.
Local Resources

Alternatives to Domestic Violence (ADV) – Offers Shelter Program Services for
victims of domestic violence. Serving Riverside County.

1-800-339-SAFE (7233)

Safe Alternative for Everyone (SAFE) – providing domestic violence services for children, youth and families who have experienced or are at risk of abuse and violence.

(951) 587-3900

Shelter from the Storm – Coachella Valley’s only shelter-based provider of emergency services to victims of domestic violence.

760-328-SAFE (7233)

Toll-Free 800-775-6055

Olive Crest – Safe Families for Children – Parents experiencing a temporary crisis can arrange for their children (newborn through 18 years old) to stay with Safe Families for Children volunteers while they address the issues that led to the instability in their lives.