Quick Exit
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24-Hour Crisis Line

What to Do

Whether you decide to leave or stay, the Family Sunshine Center can help. Please call us at 334.263.0218 (collect calls accepted) and we'll present to you a range of options for your safety.

Are you leaving?

Having left the violence of your home does not mean that all of your problems are over. The person that has recently and frequently abused you may react in several predictable ways. Knowing what he or she probably will do may have a beneficial effect on your ability to cope with demands, intimidations and threats and better enable you to make decisions without fear.

The perpetrator may:

  • First go to friends or family to locate you. May threaten them or attempt to gain their sympathy. If they do not know where you are, only that you're safe and well, they cannot be frightened into giving that information. If they are successfully moved by the sympathy line and some distortion of the truth, they may try to persuade you to return.
  • If he/she does make contact with you, apologies and promises may follow, as well as gifts, things for the house or children, or anything that could bring you back into the sphere of domination.
  • The next pattern of behavior is generally use of threats and attempts to intimidate. This may include threats to kill you or "put a contract out on you." Take the children or assume custody of them. The wisest answer here to remind him/her that he/she alone is responsible for his/her actions and the results of those actions, and refuse to listen to further threats.
  • This may be followed by the counseling/religion step. He/she may suddenly become religious and attend church activities in a most obvious manner. There may also be a round of counseling sessions trying to find a counselor who will call you and tell you that you should go back home and sort out the problems. Unless the abuser is willing to go to one counselor and continue counseling whether or not you come back, then he/she has probably not accepted responsibility for the abusive behavior.
  • If the above four steps have not worked, there are other ways an abuser may try to regain control, including crying and begging, particularly in a public situation so that you are embarrassed and appear to be hard-hearted; harassment by phone calls, mail or emails, creating legal frustrations; and showing up at your workplace.
  • One of the most powerful threats is taking away the children. YOU DO HAVE RIGHTS AND THERE ARE LAWS TO PROTECT THOSE RIGHTS. SEEK LEGAL (ATTORNEY) CONSULTATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Until a court has determined temporary custody of your children, both biological parents have equal custodial rights.
Are you staying?

Safety planning, should you choose to stay:

A safety plan will help you identify possible ways to protect yourself and your children. The plan will make you more aware of your personal and community resources. Also, it will help you to identify the signs and situations that may precede a violent episode.

Violence repeats itself and gets worse. For your safety, it is best for you to have a plan to get to a safe place if you anticipate or experience your partner's violence again.

You are not powerless or locked into a battering relationship. You can prepare to leave, and be ready to set out on your own at the right time. Victims who are in physically abusive relationships often find it difficult to leave home and end the relationship permanently. If you are unable to leave at this time, you can still protect yourself by doing certain things that will make it easier for you to leave later.

Put these things together in a place where you can reach them quickly. You may think about leaving some of these items at a friend's, neighbor's or relative's house, at work or anyplace that you will be safe when it is time to retrieve the items when they are needed.

  • When you decide to leave, if possible, take the following important items if you have them:
    • Driver's License
    • Medication(s)
    • Keys
    • Address Book
    • Telephone/Utility Bills
    • Bank Book
    • Green Cards
    • Car Ownership Papers
    • Lease/Rental Agreement
    • Property Deed
    • Medical Records
    • Money
    • Checkbook
    • Children's School Records
    • Marriage License
    • Birth Certificates
    • Credit Cards
    • Social Security Cards
    • Divorce & Custody Papers
    • Passports
    • Jewelry
    • Pictures
  • Try to get a joint bank account or an account in your own name.
  • Hide an extra set of car keys outside or at a neighbor's house. Plan where you will go, and how you will get there in case you have to leave suddenly.
  • Pack an extra set of clothing for yourself and your children. Store these items with a neighbor, friend, or family member - someplace where you can get them safely if needed.
If you feel like you are in danger and you can't get to these things, just get out. Most of these items are replaceable.
Your life is not

What We Offer

The Family Sunshine Center has been serving victims and survivors of family violence for over 35 years in Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties, while also providing sexual assault counseling in Dallas, Perry, and Wilcox counties. Since 1981, we have grown to incorporate services not only to victims with immediate crisis needs but also those ready to move out of emergency shelter and into self-sufficient lifestyles. We also provide a non-residential counseling center and a community outreach program for prevention education. Most recently, we have added sexual assault counseling to the services we offer.

Our staff works diligently to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault and the services that are available to victims. We strive to ensure a network and positive communications among law enforcement, legal services, the court system and other agencies a victim might encounter while exiting the cycle of violence.

PO Box 5160, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5160      334.206.2100