| Get Help | Helpline
If you are in immediate danger, CALL 911!
We are here to help
The Peaceful Paths 24-hour help line has been a crucial point of contact for many members of our community seeking assistance, support and connection. Telephone support can be a lifeline for those who seek guidance and information without the need to identify themselves or travel to outreach or emergency shelter services. The help line advocates are trained to assess crisis situations, complete shelter screenings, provide domestic violence education and identify community resources for callers with great care and without judgment.
All callers are encouraged to seek safe options and continue help line contact if they feel it is effective for them. Callers looking for immediate crisis intervention during a physical altercation will be directed to 911 or the local law enforcement agency.
Frequently Asked Questions about calling the Helpline
Sourced by domesticshelters.org
Why would I call a stranger at a hotline? Shouldn’t I just reach out to my friends or family if I need help?
We certainly do promote reaching out to friends and family if you feel safe and comfortable doing so,” says Noyes. But, there are lots of people who wouldn’t turn to friends or family because they’ve experienced judgment, criticism or have experienced abuse in their own family.” The hotline, says Noyes, is staffed by non biased, nonjudgmental individuals, open and ready to discuss any topic based upon the caller’s needs.
They’re also knowledgeable about abuse. Whether a staff person or a volunteer, anyone who speaks to a caller has received 60 hours of domestic violence training. After that, they receive additional coaching and in-service training throughout the year.
How do I know it’s time to make the call?
“The first thing to think about, before even reaching out to the hotline, is your safety,” says Noyes. “Are you safe in your relationship? Does your partner make you feel unsafe? And once you’re able to answer those questions for yourself, or for your children, then you can think about whether or not it’s time to have a conversation with an objective partner who can help you think about your options.”
Do I have to give them my real name?
No. Hotlines will let you stay completely anonymous, or you can give yourself a made-up name—whatever you feel comfortable with. But even if you do reveal your real name, your call is completely private and secure. “We are 100 percent confidential,” confirms Noyes. “We do not use caller ID. We will ask for their ZIP code only—to pull up regional resources.
I’m not looking to go to a shelter. I’m not even sure I want to leave my partner. Can I still call a hotline?
Of course. Explains Noyes, “Many people are not ready to leave. But they want to know how they can move their relationship to be a safe one, or manage their relationship without leaving. Our advocates are trained to help people understand abuse, and identify whether or not their relationship is healthy or unhealthy.” Sometimes, calling a hotline can help a survivor have that “aha moment” about what is happening to them, by pointing out signs and red flags that indicate their partner is abusive.
OK, let’s say I do call. What will the person on the other end of the line say? Do I have to start the conversation?
“Every caller is welcomed and thanked for reaching out,” says Noyes. “We know they feel anxious. We’ll ask them if they’re in a safe place to talk or chat. It’s critical that they have safety during that time, and it’s preferable if their partner is not around. If their partner walks in, they have the option to hang up immediately and call back when it’s safe.”
Next, you’ll be asked to tell the advocate a little bit about your situation. You can give as many or as few details as you feel comfortable with. “We may ask what they’re considering at this point … and ask them how they’re taking care of themselves. Self-care is extremely important especially while experiencing abuse,” says Noyes.
You’ll be asked if you need resources in the community, like shelter, support groups, lay legal help, counseling, or batterer intervention programs. Yes, batterers can call the line, too.
Who else calls the hotline besides survivors and batterers?
Says Noyes, “We take calls from survivors, from those who recognize themselves as victims, from perpetrators [abusers], family members, law enforcement, concerned others—you name it, we’ll take a call from anyone. We’re non-judgmental and open and supportive to every caller.”