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Ending a relationship is never easy, and oftentimes, abuse starts gradually—which can sometimes make it hard to catch.  It can be easy to justify abusive behaviors because you love your partner, and you want to be happy together. But if you are recognizing that you aren’t happy or safe, and you feel that your relationship is unhealthy, it can be hard to navigate on your own. We are here to support you through the process of figuring out if, when, or how you want to leave. 

As you read this blog entry – or any time after – and you want to talk with someone, we are here for you 24/7. Simply call or text 988. 

How do I know if it is abuse?  

People and relationships are extremely complex, and it can be hard to feel certain whether or not you are in an abusive relationship. New Beginnings, a fantastic Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic violence, specifically dedicated the page “Warning Signs of Abuse – New Beginnings” to recognizing some of these signs; it includes five real stories of abusive relationships as well as a list of helpful questions to ask yourself about your relationship.  

If you aren’t ready to leave or aren’t sure you want to, it can help to think about why that might be and what your needs are.  

How would I leave and where can I go?  

Everyone’s situation is different. Safety when Preparing to End an Abusive Relationship | has a great walkthrough, and there are many hotlines you can contact to speak with advocates who can help you make a specific plan; there are also tools to help you make a plan on your own (ex. Create Your Personal Safety Plan ( One of the most important things to keep in mind is your privacy and security as you make your plan—it can be dangerous for your abuser to find out and your safety is the priority. There are many domestic violence shelters out there and ways to find temporary housing to support you throughout the process.   

Can my kids go with me?  

Leaving with kids can be tricky for a lot of reasons, and there are many resources to support you in this. Safety Planning with Children | goes into this in more depth about the process, and advocates at any of the resources we suggest can also help you incorporate your children into your safety plan. Your children are allowed with you in shelters, and you may be able to file for temporary emergency custody (more info on that here) to avoid parental kidnapping charges.  

What about my pet? What if I can’t take them with me to where I stay when I leave?  

There are a variety of programs that let you find a foster home for your pet while you get relocated and settled in, here are a few of your options:  

I can’t do this on my own, and my partner is all I have.   

If you become isolated from your friends and family, or you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, we are here to support you. It is okay if you are not ready to leave, or if that is not your goal. You do not need to want to leave to seek support. You are not alone, and there are people in your corner ready to help you!  

Helplines and general resources:  

New Beginnings

  • DVHopeline: 24/7 hotline available through calling 206-737-0242 or via chat on Home – DV Hopeline.  
  • Advocates can listen, talk with you, provide resources, and help you stay safe. If you have legal questions or questions about the process, they are there to help you.  
  • Can help connect you to free, confidential places for help in King County and other locations in Washington State. 
  • You do not have to be in crisis; if you or someone you know might be experiencing abuse, their advocates can help you.  
  • Can contact in any language and they will provide an interpreter!  

More educational content and information about domestic violence and harm reduction  

National Domestic Violence Hotline 

Strong Hearts Native Helpline 

  • StrongHearts Native Helpline: Call or text 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483), or chat at StrongHearts Native Helpline | Get Help ( 
  • For Native American and Alaska Natives impacted by domestic and sexual violence 
  • Advocates who answer the calls have a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law.  


  • Call or text 211 to connect with a social service information specialist who can help find resources to help with transportation, mental health, housing, and more 
  • Search for DV Shelters near you looking under the DV category on the Resource Directory | Washington 211 ( page.  

Legal Help 

Here are a couple resources dedicated to legal help, though all of the resources listed above can also help support with that and navigating legal processes related to DV.  


Northwest Justice Project  

You are not alone.  

All our lines here at Crisis Connections are open to you as you process or plan, we know it is really hard and we want to support you however we can!