For Victims and Survivors

 Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts, or continually puts down the other person, it is abuse.

Does your partner ...

  • Embarrass or make fun of you in front of friends or family? Put down your accomplishments or goals?
  • Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions? Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance? 
  • Tell you that you are nothing without them?
  • Treat you roughly -- grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you? Threaten or abuse your pets? 
  • Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be? 
  • Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
  • Blame you for how they feel or act?
  • Pressure you sexually for things you aren't ready for?
  • Make you feel like there "is no way out" of the relationship?
  • Prevent you from doing things you want, like spending time with your friends or family?
  • Try to keep you from leaving after a fight, or leave you somewhere after a fight to "teach you a lesson?"

Do you ...

  • Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
  • Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner's behavior?
  • Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
  • Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
  • Feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you?
  • Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
  • Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?

Without help, the abuse will continue.

If any of these situations are happening in your relationship, talk to someone you trust or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (available 24/7): 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

The following signs often occur before manifestation of full abuse and may serve clues to one person in a relationship becoming abusive of the other. Think about the following questions and apply them to your partner. If you can identify with one or more of the scenarios or answer "yes" to any of the questions below, you may be with an abusive partner.

  • Did your partner grow up in a violent family?
  • Does your partner tend to use force of violence to "solve" their problems?
  • Does your partner have a quick temper? Do they over-react to little problems and frustration? Are they cruel to animals? Do they punch walls or throw things when they are upset?
  • Do they abuse alcohol or other drugs?
  • Do they have strong traditional ideas about "roles" in relationships? For example, do they think all women should stay at home, take care of their husbands, and follow their wishes and orders?
  • Are they jealous of your other relationships -- anyone you may know? Do they keep tabs on you? Do they want to know where you are at all times? Do they want you with them all of the time? 
  • Do they have access to guns, knives or other lethal weapons? Do they talk of using them against people or threaten to use them to get even?
  • Do they expect you to follow their orders or advice? Do they become angry if you do not fulfill their wishes or if you cannot anticipate what they want?
  • Do they go through extreme highs and lows almost as though they are two different people? Are they extremely kind one time, and extremely cruel another?
  • When your partner gets angry, do you fear them? Do you find that not making them angry has become a major part of your life? Do you do what they want you to do, rather than what you want to do?
  • Do they treat you roughly? Do they physically force you to do what you do not want to do?
  • Do they threaten or abuse your pets?

Threats and physical abuse are prevalent in relationship violence, often occurring in an escalating cycle. 


What is a safety plan?

A safety plan is a personalized strategy to remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations. Since the most dangerous time in an unhealthy relationship is during and after a breakup, you need to tell multiple people in your community before you break up with an unhealthy or abusive partner. They can become your eyes and ears to help limit your partner’s access to you. You should include advocates, community organizations, friends, and family as people you can talk to. Each plan is designed to fit your relationship and make sure that you are leaving the relationship in a safe and healthy way.

Why is it important?

It is crucial that you create a breakup plan whether you are planning to leave or stay in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is during a breakup and after you have left your partner. During this period, your partner might escalate their aggression to keep you from leaving. It is very important that you take precautionary measures to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Breakup plans can be altered and changed as time goes on. Even if you are not leaving an abusive relationship, creating a plan for your safety is important. If you are concerned about how your partner might react to a breakup, you can start your plan by answering a few basic questions and add more safety measures if you feel increasingly threatened.

It's okay to ask for help

If you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, you should know that the abuse is not your fault and that you deserve to feel safe. Asking for help to leave a relationship that no longer makes you happy or threatens your safety is a sign of strength, and there is no weakness in leaning on the people and resources around you. You do not have to be in immediate crisis to use these resources. Preparation is key in keeping yourself as safe as possible.

For more help creating a safety plan, please visit:, or refer to the National Resources on page 24 for hotlines that can assist you in building your safety plan.

Tips for breaking up with a partner

Identify your support system early and lean on them when necessary.

Let your friends, parents, or a trusted adult* know that you are ending your relationship, especially if you think your ex will try to confront you when you’re alone.

It is normal to miss your partner after a breakup, even if they have been abusive. Write down your reasons for ending the relationship, and keep them as a reminder for later on. Give a copy to a trusted friend who you have identified to be part of your support system.

If you don’t feel safe, don’t break up in person. Sometimes the safest way to break up is by phone or social media, even if it feels impersonal or mean.

If you break up in person, always do it in a public place. Have friends or your parents wait nearby, and take a cell phone with you if you have one. 

*For LGBTQ+ students, you might be concerned about being outed. It’s okay and important to find a trusted adult is crucial if your parents are not supportive.

Pre-Breakup for High School Students

How to leave an unhealthy or abusive partner for students in high school.

Questions to consider:

Do I need to have my locker or class schedule changed? Who do I go to for this?

What teachers, counselors, administrators or coaches do I need to tell about the breakup to make my safety at school apriority?

Am I walking to my car/driving home/walking from the bus by myself at any point throughout the day? Who can I ask to accompany me during these times?

  • Do I spend any time at home alone before my parents/guardians/siblings get home?
  • Do I have a place I can go if I feel that my house isn’t safe - a neighbor, grandparent, or friend?
  • Do I live in a state that allows teens to acquire restraining orders? (Check with your local DV agency for the latest updates on the law)
  • What public area can I go to instead during this time?
  • What is the safest way to get to/from school?
  • Who do I go to if my partner has threatened to physically harm themselves or me?
  • Do I have a list of phone numbers written and stored somewhere safe? Do I have some numbers memorized?
  • Will they contact my family or friends to find out where I am?
  • Do they have access to my virtual location - SnapMaps, FindMyFriends, FindMyiPhone. Do they know any of my online passwords?
  • Where can I save documentation of abusive, threatening, or harassing comments/posts/texts, and photos of physical abuse?**
  • What steps can I take to minimize being blackmailed with sexted photos?
  • Who are the counselors at my school, and where are their offices located?
  • Who can I call if I feel overwhelmed or need additional support?

 *Be sure to save any screenshots of threatening communication from your partner, police reports, ER visits related to injuries caused by your partner, etc. to support any claims you may need to make later.

Pre-Breakup for College Students

How to create a safety plan while studying at a university.

Questions to consider:

  • Do I have the numbers for campus security and local police stored somewhere safe?
  • What is the safest way to get in/out of my dorm or apartment?
  • Do I have a safe place I can stay if I feel my home is not safe?
  • Do I have a place I can leave extra keys/clothes/money?
  • Who do I need to alert to my situation so they can be on the lookout for suspicious activity or sounds - roommates, neigh­bors, RA’s, campus security?
  • What is the safest way to get from my dorm or apartment to classes/job?
  • Do I need someone to walk me to class?
  • Where on campus can I go if I feel I need to switch my class schedule or switch dorm rooms?
  • Who can help me obtain a restraining order?
  • What is the Title IX policy at my university related to issues of student safety? How does my university handle cases of domestic violence?
  • Where can I save documentation of abusive, threatening or harassing comments/posts/texts, and photos of physical abuse?
  • Where can I go to get my locks changed?
  • Will they contact my friends or family to find out where I am?
  • Do they have access to my virtual location - SnapMaps, FindMyFriends, FindMyiPhone? Do they know any of my online passwords?
  • Is there a free self-defense class offered on campus you can take to empower yourself?
  • Do I have a whistle, pepper spray, or an alarm to alert police that I can carry with me?

Pre-Breakup for Adults

How to leave an unhealthy or abusive partner for young adults not enrolled in school or university.

Questions to consider:

  • Who do I call to get the locks on doors and windows changed?
  • Who do I call if I need a safe place to stay?
  • Who can I ride to/from work with?
  • What are the local community and legal resources available to me?
  • Is a restraining order a viable option? (include workplace in language)
  • Do I have a trusted friend or neighbor you can leave clothes/money/keys with?
  • Where can I save documentation of abusive, threatening, or harassing comments/posts/texts, and photos of physical abuse?
  • Do they have access to my virtual location - SnapMaps, FindMyFriends, FindMyiPhone? Do they know any of my online passwords?
  • Where is security located at my job and what help can they offer me? Provide a picture to them.
  • If living alone, who can you ask to stay with you or who can you stay with?
  • Do they know your personal routine? (where I park my car, where I grocery shop, etc.)
  • Do they know your route to/from work?
  • Do they know the building code to where you stay, or where to find the spare key?

Pre-Breakup with a Family

How to leave an unhealthy or abusive partner when you live together or children are involved.

Questions to consider:

  • Where are the safe areas of my house where there are no weapons and have easy ways to escape? If arguments occur, how will I get to that space? Practice how to leave safely from this spot ahead of time.
  • Is it possible to have a burner phone hidden and programmed with important numbers?
  • Do children have access to a 911/burner phone and know how to use it?
  • Where can I safely save documentation of abusive, threatening, or harassing comments/posts/texts, and photos of physical abuse?
  • Where is a safe place in the house the children can go?
  • Do I have a code word with my children so they know when to call or implement the safety plan?
  • Where is a safe place I can take the children if we need to leave the house in a rush?
  • Where can I begin setting aside money, or what trusted friend or family member will keep it hidden for me?
  • What trusted friend or family member will keep extra clothes, keys, and important documents (or copies of these docu­ments)? Examples: driver’s license, credit cards and checkbooks, passports or green cards, medical records, birth certificates, social security, welfare information, valued pictures/jewelry?
  • Who at my children’s school can I alert to the situation?
  • Do I need to remove or add a person (parent or non-parent) from the emergency pick up list?
  • What ways can I change my routes to/from work or children’s school?
  • What frequented places do I need to change - grocery stores, dry cleaners, etc.?
  • Do they know the building code to where you stay, or where to find the spare key?

Post Breakup Planning

Most of the questions posed above apply during the post break up phase as well. You should keep those measures in place as long as necessary to remain safe. Below are a few additional questions that you should consider as you get further away from the initial breakup.

Questions to consider:

  • Is there a support group of other survivors I can join?
  • What do I have to do to make sure the restraining order remains enforced?
  • Have I checked my devices for electronic spying? Note: Check out this resource for help
  • If I share children with someone who is abusive, have I retained a lawyer to determine what next steps to take regarding custody? Note: There is often free legal support through domestic violence agencies.

Lethality indicators

In some situations, contacting law enforcement, a domestic violence advocacy agency, or school administrators can be the difference between life and death. If any of the following is happening to you (or a friend), you are highly encouraged to talk to someone who can help.

If Anyone

  • Threatens to kill you
  • Threatens to kill himself or herself
  • Has a gun or another weapon
  • Has ever used a weapon to threaten, scare, or hurt you
  • Brags that they killed or would kill someone else
  • Puts his or her hands around your throat to scare or hurt you (strangling you)
  • Forces you to have sex or is otherwise sexually abusive
  • Will not let you get medical attention for an injury
  • Threatens to hurt someone you care about
  • Destroys your property
  • Harms a pet
  • Follows you, shows up unexpectedly, demands to know your whereabouts (stalking)
  • Steals or withholds money from you
  • Interferes with your communication with family or friends
  • Becomes more and more physically abusive (escalating violence)
  • Controls most or all of your daily activities (what you do, who you see, what you wear)
  • Is extremely jealous and possessive (“If I can’t have you, nobody will”)
  • Is capable of killing you (you have an instinct that they could do this)
  • Drinks excessively or uses drugs and becomes abusive
  • Has ever or would elude law enforcement
When in Danger
  • If you have knowledge that leads you to believe that a person may be physically harmed, you should:
  • Warn the victim and law enforcement if you believe that they are in danger.
  • If it is safe to do so, take your concerns to the victim directly before contacting law enforcement so that they can come up with the safest plan for reporting.
  • If you help an abusive person commit a crime, you can be considered an accomplice. For example, if you drive an abusive person to his or her partner’s home, and you suspect that your friend may become abusive while there, it is possible you could be charged with aiding the perpetrator. Do not support your friends who may be abusive; call the National Domestic Violence hotline and authorities.
  • If the thought of telling an authority makes you worried that the abusive partner could become even more dangerous if they find out, speak with a trained domestic violence advocate first. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.

Source: OneLove

Confidential resource, on-campus

RMC/ JSU Student Health Center​

1701 Pelham Road South, Jacksonville, Alabama​


  • Pregnancy testing​
  • STI screening​
  • Referrals to other resources 

JSU Student Counseling Services​

On-call counselor 24/7, contact UPD to access​
147 Trustee Circle​

Giselle Sharp is the victim and survivor counselor working especially with students who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

Confidential resource, off-campus

2ndChance, Inc. 

  • 24-hour crisis hotline for domestic and sexual violence survivors​
  • Emergency shelter​
  • Forensic exam support and advocacy in local Emergency Department​
  • Court and legal advocacy​
  • Support groups and holistic wellness activities for survivors and their support systems​
  • Counseling services​
  • Assistance with pets​
  • And more!​​

Crisis Line: 256.236.7233​
Administration Office: 256.236.7381​​

  • Rape Response Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Facility​
  • Specially trained to handle sexual assault cases​
  • Offers exams 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.​
  • Free of charge​

Birmingham, Alabama​

Private resource, on-campus 

Title IX Office​

Oversees the university’s centralized review, investigation, and resolution of reports of sexual misconduct, sex-based discrimination, or sex-based harassment (including incidents of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence).​

Coordinates supportive measures

Jasmin Nunez
700 Pelham Road North​
Angle Hall, Suite 301-A​
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265​

University Police Department (UPD)​

Salls Hall 700 Pelham Road North​
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265​

​Call UPD if you need to access a counselor after-hours, UPD will connect you ​