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Frequent Questions

Who We Are

Q. Does Family Crisis Shelter charge for its services? 
Our advocacy, services and support are provided to victims of violence and their families free of charge. We also do not charge women who stay at Family Crisis Shelter.

Q. Are Family Crisis Shelter’s services confidential? 
All information regarding our clients is completely confidential. There may be exceptions in situations where someone is in danger to themselves or others.

Q. How are children affected by domestic violence? 
Children may experience a variety of negative consequences such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, withdrawal, and rebelliousness, Without treatment or intervention. These children are at greater risk for substance abuse, depression, and may experience difficulties in their own personal relationships. 

Q. Does the Family Crisis Shelter also serve men? 
Yes, the Family Crisis Shelter serves all individuals regardless of gender. However, male victims in need of safe housing are accommodated away from the shelter. 

Q. Are men also victims of domestic violence? 

  • Yes, men are victims of domestic abuse.
  • When we talk about domestic violence, we’re not talking about men versus women or women versus men.  We’re talking about violence versus peace.  We’re talking about control versus respect.
  • Domestic violence affects us all—women, children and men—everyone must be part of the solution.

Q. I think someone I know is being abused, how can I help? 
Your support and encouragement can be of tremendous value to a friend in an abusive situation. You can ease the isolation and loss control she may feel by listening to her, providing her with more information, and helping her explore her options. 

Encourage her to seek assistance of a domestic violence victim advocate who understands the special circumstances of abusive relationships. 

Tell her you will be there for her when she needs you and provide whatever you can; transportation, child care, and financial assistance. Give her the emotional support she needs to believe that she is a good person and is deserving of a life free from violence. Help her to realize her strengths and skills. HELP HER DEVELOP A SAFEY PLAN.

Q. Do women who stay in abusive relationships like the abuse? 
No one wants to be hurt, beaten or made to feel inferior. Women stay in abusive relationships for several reasons. Women may have nowhere to go. They may believe that it is better for their children to stay in a stable home. For many women, the reason they stay is because of fear. Statistics show that 75% of women who are murdered by their batterers are killed when they leave or after they leave the relationship. 

Q. Why do people become batterers? 
There is no single reason for abuse. Violence is a means of trying to exercise power and control over someone else. Many batterers were victims of abuse as children or come from families in which spousal abuse was prevalent. It is important to remember, however, that not all people who were victims of abuse as children will turn into batterers. 

Q. What do abused women want and need? 
The first thing that a women needs is to be safe. If she is in danger it is very difficult to think beyond the immediate crisis. She does not need someone to tell her to “snap out of it” or to insult her for being in her position. Basically, a victim needs support, someone who will listen to her, and she needs information about services. Above all, she needs respect.

Q. Do drugs and alcohol cause domestic violence? 
The need to exercise power and control is the cause of domestic violence. Drugs and alcohol enable people to lose their inhibitions, and cloud sound judgement. Thus, violence may be exacerbated using these substances. It is important to remember, however, that it is not the cause.

Q. What can I do if I, or someone I know is being abused?
There are many options available to people who need help. You can look in the local phone book or in a community services director for the phone number of a shelter and counseling services closest to you. You can talk to someone you trust, or call any 24-hour hotline. 

Q. Can men who batter change? 

  • Yes, but they must make the choice to change.
  • It’s not easy for an abuser to stop abusive behavior, and it requires a serious decision to change.  Once an abuser has had all of the power in a relationship, it’s difficult to change to a healthy relationship with equal power and compromises.
  • Sometimes an abuser stops the physical violence, but continues to employ other forms of abuse—emotional, sexual, or financial.  Some abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without using violence or only using subtle threats of violence.  All types of abuse are devastating to victims.

Q. How can I know if I’m in immediate danger?
If it is determined you are in immediate danger, transportation can be arranged for your escape right away, and if you feel safe for now, transportation can be arranged at a time convenient for you. Either way, a safety plan must be put into place right away. There are some signs that the situation has escalated and you are in greater danger.

Q. What happens if I decide to go into a Women’s Shelter? 
You and your children will be safe.  All your needs will be supplied for you and your children. 

Q. Do abusers show any potential warning signs?
There is no way to spot an abuser in a crowd, but most abusers share some common characteristics.

  • Some of the subtle warning signs include:
    • They insist on moving too quickly into a relationship.
    • They can be very charming and may seem too good to be true.
    • They insist that you stop participating in leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.
    • They are extremely jealous or controlling.
    • They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong.
    • They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs.
    • Their words and actions don’t match.

Q. Does the economy affect domestic violence?

  • A sour economy does not cause domestic violence but can make it worse.  It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire.
  • The severity and frequency of abuse can increase when factors associated with a bad economy are present.
    • Job loss, housing foreclosures, debt, and other factors contribute to higher stress levels at home, which can lead to increased violence.
  • As the violence gets worse, a weak economy limits options for survivors to seek safety or escape.
    • Domestic violence programs need more staff and funding to keep up with the demand for their services.
    • Victims may have a more difficult time finding a job to become financially independent of abusers.

Q. Who are the abusers?

  • Abusers come from all walks of life.  They may be of any sex, class background, race, religion, or sexual orientation.  They come from different educational and income levels.  Although batterers may be of any sex, most batterers or perpetrators are male.  
  • Intimidation and violence
    • Resolves conflict with intimidation, bullying, and violence
    • Holds her down, restrains her from leaving a room, pushes, or shoves
    • Uses threats and intimidation as instruments of control or abuse.  This includes threats to harm physically, to defame, to embarrass, to restrict freedom, to disclose secrets, to cut off support, to abandon, to kidnap children, and to commit suicide.
  • Verbally abusive
    • Says things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful.
    • Degrades her, curses her, or minimizes her accomplishments.
    • May wake her up to yell at her or not let her go to sleep by yelling at her.
  • Minimizes abuse
    • Redefines a violent incident, for example, by saying, “It wasn’t that bad,” or, “I didn’t him her that hard; she bruises easily.”
    • Accuses her of exaggerating or of being crazy.
  • Substance abuse
    • Cites alcohol or drug use as an excuse or explanation for hostile or violent conduct (“That was the booze talking, not me; I got so drunk I was crazy.”).
    • Forces her to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Breaks or strikes things in anger
    • Beats on tables with a fist, throws objects around or near her.
    • Uses symbolic violence (tearing a wedding photo or marring a face in a photo).
  • History of violence
    • Has battered in prior relationships.
    • Has previous law enforcement encounters for behavioral offenses (threats, stalking, assault, battery).
  • Projects Blame
    • Refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
    • Blames his partner for his problems to justify the violence.
    • Often blames other ethnic groups, co-workers, or women in general for his problems
    • Says things like, “You make me so mad.”
  • Cruelty to animals or children
    • Treats animals cruelly or is insensitive to their suffering.
    • Expects children to be capable of doing things far beyond their ability or teases children until they cry.
    • Forces the children to watch the abuse of the victim or engages them in the abuse of the victim.
  • Extreme jealousy
    • Becomes jealous of anyone or anything that takes her time away from the relationship.
    • Says things like, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.”
    • Requires her to account for all of her time.
    • Accuses her of flirting or of having affairs.
    • Calls her frequently at work or refuses to let her go to work.
  • Controlling Behavior
    • Makes all the decisions about the house, her clothing or where they go.
    • Is extremely impatient and might exhibit poor impulse control.  Believes his needs and wants should be fulfilled immediately.
    • Uses money to control her activities, purchases and behavior.
  • Isolation
    • Cuts her off from resources.
    • Accuses people who are her supports of causing trouble.
    • May not let her use the car, work or go to school.
    • Says things like, “Your family just doesn’t like me or doesn’t think I’m good enough.”
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • Has sudden and extreme changes in mood.
    • Is alternately loving and abusive.
    • Can behave explosively.
  • Rape or use of force in sex
    • Has no concern about whether she wants to have sex.
    • Uses sulking, anger, harassment, or coercion to manipulate her into compliance.
    • Forces her to have sex while she is sleeping or demands sex when she is ill or injured after a beating.

Q. How can I identify domestic violence?

The following are questions to ask about your relationship.

  • Does your partner:
    • Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs?
    • Look at your or act in ways that scare you?
    • Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
    • Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
    • Take your money and make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
    • Make all the decisions?
    • Tell you you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
    • Act like the abuse is not a big deal, is your fault, or even deny doing it?
    • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
    • Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons?
    • Shove you, slap you or hit you?
    • Forces you to drop charges?
    • Threaten to commit suicide?
    • Threaten to kill you?

Q.  What are the different types of abuse and what’s the difference of each type?

  • Physical Abuse
    • Physical abuse is easier to recognize and understand than other types of abuse.  It can be indicated when the batterer:
      • Scratches, bites, grab or spits at a current or former intimate partner.
      • Shakes, shoves, pushes, restrains or throws her.
      • Twists, slaps, punches, strangles or burns the victim.
      • Throws objects at her.
      • Subjects her to reckless driving.
      • Locks her in or out of the house.
      • Refuses to help when she’s sick, injured or pregnant, or withholds medication or treatment.
      • Withholds food as punishment.
      • Abuses her at mealtimes, which disrupts eating patterns and can result in malnutrition.  
      • Abuses her at night, which disrupts sleeping patterns and can result in sleep deprivation.
      • Attacks her with weapons or kills her.
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse
    • Rape and sexual abuse can be extraordinarily difficult for victims to talk about because of the unimaginable ways in which this type of violence often is perpetrated.  Sexual abuse or rape can be indicated when the batterer:
      • Is jealously angry and assumes she will have sex with anyone.
      • Withholds sex and affection as punishment.
      • Calls her sexual names.
      • Pressures her to have sex when she doesn’t want to.
      • Insists that his partner dresses in a more sexual way than she wants.
      • Coerces sex by manipulation or threats.
      • Physically forces sex or is violent during a sexual assault.
      • Coerces her into sexual acts that she is uncomfortable with, such as sex with a third party, physically painful sex, sexual activity she finds offensive, or verbal degradation during sex.
      • Inflicts injuries that are sex-specific.
      • Denies the victim contraception or protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Psychological Abuse
    • It is the abuser’s use of physical and sexual force or threats that gives power to his psychologically abusive acts.  Psychological abuse becomes an effective weapon in controlling a victim because she knows through experience that her abuser will at times back up the threats or taunts with physical assaults.  Psychological abuse can be indicated when the batterer:
      • Breaks promises, doesn’t follow through on agreements, or doesn’t take a fair share of responsibility.
      • Verbally attacks and humiliates his partner in private or public.
      • Attacks her vulnerabilities, such as her language abilities, educational level, skills as a parent, religious and cultural beliefs, or physical appearance.
      • Plays mind games, such as when he denies requests he has made previously or when he undercuts her sense of reality.
      • Forces her to do degrading things.
      • Ignores her feelings.
      • Withholds approval or affection as punishment.
      • Regularly threatens to leave or tells her to leave.
      • Harasses her about affairs he imagines her to be having.
      • Always claims to be right.
      • Is unfaithful after committing to monogamy.
  • Economic Abuse
    • Economic abuse can be indicated when the batterer:
      • Controls all the money.
      • Doesn’t let her work outside the home or sabotages her attempts to work or go to school.
      • Refuses to work and make her support the family.
      • Ruins her credit rating.

Q. What can I do to help?

  • Support battered women in their efforts to end the violence in their lives.  Don’t blame them for the abuse.
  • Support your local program for battered women: share your time and resources.
  • Hold batterers accountable for their violence.  Let them know that the community condemns this behavior.
  • Think about the ways that society has accepted the use of violence by men to control women’s behavior.  Re-examine your own attitudes about it.
  • Teach young people that violence is not acceptable.
  • Examine and discuss how TV programs and movies glamorize violence.
  • Learn more about domestic violence and what you can do to stop it.
  • Listen without judging people in abusive relationships.
  • Allow victims to make their own decisions.
  • Guide them to community services for professional support.
  • Focus on their strengths rather than shortcomings already highlighted in the relationship.
  • Help them make a safety plan, including finding a safe place to stay.
  • If you have seen an assault in progress, call the police.

Q. What are things I can say to a victim who feels they cannot leave?

  • I am afraid for your safety.
  • I am afraid for the safety of your children.
  • It will only get worse.
  • I am here for you when you are ready to leave.
  • You don’t deserve to be abused.

Q. Why don’t victims leave?

  • FEAR: The greatest danger in an abusive relationship often is when a woman tries to leave.  FBI crime statistics show more than 40 percent of all female homicides nationwide represent women trying to leave abusive relationships.
  • LACK OF RESOURCES: Abusers often isolate victims, offering little outside means to support themselves.  Limited finances and few sympathetic friends or relatives make it tougher to leave.
  • CHILDREN: The challenge of raising children alone and the threat by abusers that women might lose custody keeps them from leaving.
  • GUILT: Victims sometimes believe that abusive person is sick or needs their help.  They also are told by some family and friends they should stay for the sake of their marriage or children.
  • PROMISES TO CHANGE:  Abusive relationships tend to move in cycles.  Following a fight, abusers often apologize and promise it will never happen again.
  • DEPENDENCY: Many women are still taught to be passive and dependent on men.  They also worry that leaving a relationship is a form of admitting they failed.
  • IMMIGRANTS AND SPANISH SPEAKERS:  Such women often are isolated from the community and believe they cannot turn to police for help.  Even legal immigrants are told by abusers they will be deported or lose their children if they report the violence.

Q. What is the relationship between poverty and domestic violence?

  • Domestic violence permeates all social groups defined by race, ethnicity, and economic circumstances, yet it is clear that the combined experience of poverty and violence raises particularly difficult issues for women and their children.  This reality has been underscored by several studies in the past 10-15 years documenting the importance of economic resources for battered women’s decision making.  Several recent studies have explored the connections between domestic violence against impoverished women and their used public assistance.
  • Economic independence and employment are central considerations in women’s safety.  Each battered woman faces unique risks and thus has unique needs for safety and self-sufficiency.  In some cases, determining what a particular battered women needs is as simple as asking her.

Q  Are there any personal safety tips related to domestic violence?
Yes! Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

  • When a fight breaks out
    • Move away from the kitchen, bathroom, or any place where there are dangerous sharp objects.
    • Plan the easiest escape.  Decide on a door or window to exit quickly and safely.
    • Find a neighbor, friend, or family member you can trust to help you and your children, or to call police. 
  • If you decide to leave your partner, plan for safety
    • Every situation is different! Contact the national domestic violence hotline for information on how to plan for safety.  Leaving may be risky for you and your children. 1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY for the deaf)
    • Put some money away.  Even if you only save a little bit every week, you need to have some money of your own.
    • Make copies of keys and important papers and leave them with a friend, neighbor, or church.  Some important items to have: birth certificates, legal papers, a little money, special toys.
  • Ways to stay safe on your own
    • Change the locks on your doors.
    • Learn about your legal rights.  If you have legal papers to protect you, keep them with you at all times.
    • Tell neighbors, friends, landlords or coworkers that your partner no longer lives with you.  Keep a safety plan for coming and going, and share it with people you trust.  Teach your children about the safety plan.
    • If your former partner is dangerous, find someone at work to tell.  Show a picture, and ask them to call 911 if your former partner comes around.

-National Domestic Violence Hotline (

  • When a fight breaks out: Stay away from sharp objects, plan the easiest escape, teach your children how to stay away from fights and choose a code word signaling children, friends and family that they need to call police.
  • If you decide to leave: Talk with domestic violence support services, friends and family about developing a safe plan to leave.  Set aside important documents, money, keys, medication, clothing, children’s favorite toys and cell phone.
  • Stay safe after you leave: Change the locks on your doors, learn your legal rights, tell neighbors and friends your partner no longer lives with you, inform your child’s day care and develop a safety plan to deal with an attack.
  • Be safe at work: Inform co-workers and security guards about your situation, providing a photograph of the abuser and a copy of a protection order.  Screen you phone calls.  Be cautious when leaving the office and vary your routine.              

-New Mexico Coalition Against Domestiv Violence (, Albuquerque, NM

Q. What can men do to end domestic violence?

  • Recognize that domestic violence is every man’s responsibility.
  • Speak Up.  Don’t be a silent bystander.
  • Challenge men who use sexiest language and make degrading jokes about women.
  • Ask a woman how the threat of violence impacts her life.  Listen & Learn from women.
  • Think about how our attitudes and language contribute to the problem of men’s abuse of women.
  • Call 911. Domestic violence is not a private matter—it’s a crime.
  • Recognize that degrading images of women in the media are linked to violence against women.
  • Boycott magazines, videos, and music that promote violence against women.
  • Talk to and teach boys and young men about healthy relationships.  Walk the talk and be a good role model.
  • Seek help if you have a problem with being emotionally or physically abused.
  • Join other concerned men and women to address gender violence through groups such as Men Against Violence and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.
  • Support anti-violence campaigns in your community! There is usually an organization that is doing something to end violence.  Support these activities.

-Community Anti-Violence Alliance, Inc. (CAVA), Steuben County, IN

This section is a compilation of answers to the questions most commonly asked by our constituents. Just start by following one of the links below. If you can’t find the question you wanted to ask, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  1. Our organization raises awareness and helps people affected by our cause through extensive programs and services. For a list of specific programs and services we provide, visit our What We Do section.

  2. We’re always on the lookout for individuals like you wanting to get involved. Visit our How To Help section to find out ways to donate or volunteer.

  3. We have a responsibility to our community and our donors and work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization. We make our IRS Form 990 available for review, as required by law. Visit our Financials page to learn more.

  4. Our organization takes our privacy policy seriously and takes steps to protect and ensure the safety of our supporters. We do not sell or otherwise disclose information about our volunteers or supporters outside of our immediate organization. This policy has no exceptions. We do not sell or exchange your information with any other organizations, public, private or nonprofit. For more detailed information visit our Privacy Policy page.