The National Domestic Violence Hotline:What is a Safety Plan?

What Is a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.

At The Hotline we safety plan with victims, friends and family members — anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.

A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios.

Although some of the things that you outline in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis your brain doesn’t function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins it can be hard to think clearly or make logical decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you to protect yourself in those stressful moments.


While you browse this site, please keep your personal safety in mind. Here are some ways to “check your tech” and ensure your safety on the computer or phone.

Types of Safety Planning

  • Safety While Living With An Abusive Partner
    • Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and your children before it occurs.
    • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
    • Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
    • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
    • If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local shelter. If your life is in danger, call the police.
    • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
    • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
    • Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
    • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
    • Plan for what you will do if your children tells your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
    • Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
    • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape.
    • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
    • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.
  • Safety Planning With Children
  • Safety Planning With Pets
  • Safety Planning During Pregnancy
  • Emotional Safety Planning

Leaving a Relationship

  • Preparing to Leave

    Because violence could escalate when someone tries to leave, here are some things to keep in mind before you leave:

    • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures of injuries.
    • Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible. Keep your journal in a safe place.
    • Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.
    • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
    • Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
    • Contact your local shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. has state by state legal information.
    • Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can.
    • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
  • When You Leave
  • After You Leave

Some of this information is adapted from: Copyright © 1998 by the National Center for Victims of Crime. This information may be freely distributed, provided that it is distributed free of charge, in its entirety and includes this copyright notice.

  • Restraining Orders/Protective Orders

    There are some legal actions you can take to help keep yourself safe from your abusive partner. The Hotline does not give legal advice, nor are we legal advocates, but there are some great resources available to you in your community.

    Please call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat with us and our advocates can connect you with resources for legal help.

    You can also visit and search state by state for information on laws including restraining orders and child custody information.

    Protective Orders/Restraining Orders

    A protective order can help protect you immediately by legally keeping your partner from physically coming near you, harming you or harassing you, your children or your family members. This legal documentation to keep your abusive partner away from you can often contain provisions related to custody, finance and more.

    While protective orders may be able to put a stop to physical abuse, psychological abuse is still possible — so a protective order should never replace a safety plan.

    If you already have a protective order, it should be kept on you at all times — and copies should be given to your children and anyone they might be with — especially when you’re leaving your partner.

    You can get an application for a protective order at:

    • Courthouses
    • Women’s shelters
    • Volunteer legal services offices and some police stations.

    Other Legal Actions:

    You also have the right to file a charge against your partner for things such as criminal assault, aggravated assault, harassment, stalking or interfering with child custody. Ask a volunteer legal services organization (attorneys who provide free legal services to low-income individuals) or an advocacy group in your area about the policies in your local court.

    Not a US citizen?

    Learn more at Casa De Esperanza about your rights as an immigrant and read more on our site.

    According to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), immigrant women who are experiencing domestic violence — and are married to abusers who are US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents — may qualify to self-petition for legal status under VAWA. Get more information here. 

  • Calling 911

Lundy Bancroft,Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men:Webinar

Friends, I’m hoping to reach as many professionals as we can that would benefit from both my training and receiving continuing education hours for participating in this webinar series. If you don’t mind sharing my post with your colleagues and social media community, it would be a great help to us in our quest to reach the people serving women on the front lines.

My next webinar training, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men,” begins June 1st. Early bird special pricing of $20 off ends tomorrow.

This webinar explores the key myths and misconceptions regarding abusive men that can lead to practice errors by well-intentioned professionals. I speak to the abused woman as the audience, modeling for professionals how to speak to a victim and how to understand her central concerns.

I am happy to report that this webinar series has been approved by both the NASW and NASW-NJ for continuing education hours. Social workers in New Jersey will receive six and a half (6.5) clinical & social and cultural competence continuing education hours for participating in this course (NASW-NJ), and 5 CEU’s will be earned in all other participating NASW states throughout the U.S.

In anticipation of questions you may have, I will attempt to address a few below:

~You do not have to be online at the specified time of the webinar (Friday’s in June 1-2PM EST). Within 24 hours of the conclusion of each weeks webinar, you will receive an email with a replay link. It will be good for 6 days. You can watch the training anytime during that time frame that is convenient for you. After the 6 days, the link will expire.

~It is important to note that I will be available with my trusted colleagues through the interactive chat box feature for questions or discussions during the live webinar, but that feature will not be available for replays.

~NASW and NASW-NJ requires all participants seeking continuing education credits to take a test at the conclusion of the series. All participants who receive a score of 80% or higher will receive a CE certificate. Certificates will be emailed as an attachment within 6-8 weeks of the 5 week webinar series conclusion.

To register, visit my website at:

Important side note:

For those “not” interested in continuing education credits, you may be interested in my pre-recorded 4 hour “Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds of Angry And Controlling Men” video series at a much discounted rate. To learn more about this type of series, feel free to click on the link below:



Forbidden to Protect:Lundy Bancroft

Forbidden to Protect:Lundy Bancroft

& Me:Spotlighting Mark Wynn:NNEDV

&Me: Spotlighting Mark Wynn

May 31, 2017

Inspired by our “Feminists&Me” tee, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) continues its “Spotlight on Feminists” series by highlighting and honoring individuals who work to make a difference every day. NNEDV previously honored the women featured in this design: Sojourner Truth &Susan B. Anthony & bell hooks & Gloria Steinem & Ruth Bader GinsburgRead the rest of the &Me series here.

NNEDV recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Wynn, an international trainer to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, legislators, victim advocates, and health care providers for over thirty years. Wynn’s passion to end gender-based violence through law enforcement began as a child. He has devoted his life to ending domestic violence as a retired Lieutenant of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department Domestic Violence Division, educator, program supervisor, consultant, and advisor.

NNEDV: First, tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?

Wynn is from Columbia, Tennessee, but he and his family lived in Texas for ten years with his stepfather. During those years, Wynn witnessed the abuse of his mother by his stepfather and saw police do nothing to intervene. When he became a police officer in Wichita, Kansas, an aspiration that came from his father who was also an officer, he realized that officers weren’t trained to deal with domestic violence, nor did they understand the crime. Wynn was hired at the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in 1978 and he started teaching in 1982 on best practices for addressing domestic violence. In the early 1990s Wynn became the co-creator of the largest domestic violence unit in history.

Wynn has trained for over forty years in all fifty states and thirteen countries, including China, Russia, and Turkey, for the U.S. State Department. He is married to Valerie, an advocate, therapist, and Founder & Executive Director of the Mary Parrish Center in Nashville, a domestic and sexual violence therapeutic transitional housing program named after Wynn’s mother. Wynn has consulted for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), where he trained Chiefs of Police on how to write and implement policies on domestic violence. For the past thirteen years, he has trained on modern efforts in responding to sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking at the IACP National Institute Leadership on Violence Against Women. Since 2001, Wynn has taught in over 1,000 classrooms and traveled over two million miles to train law enforcement, individuals within the criminal justice system, advocates, and others.

NNEDV: What are you currently working on related to nonviolence and/or gender equality?

Wynn recently spoke to the Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) in Washington, DC on leadership and prioritization of violence against women crimes. He is on a three-year project for the state of Virginia to look at underserved populations including immigrants, African American women, and elderly women; create needs assessment reports; and rewrite model policies on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Wynn is often called to be an expert witness throughout many jurisdictions and with the Department of Justice. He is active with the IACP and continues to train police executives on how to prioritize violence against women in their departments. Wynn conducts almost 70 individual site trainings per year and believes that interaction with advocates is crucial. He strives to spend time with advocates to discover individual problems between advocates and police, and train law enforcement to address the needs of victim services.

NNEDV: What inspired you to do this work? What inspires your to continue it?

MW: “This is what I’ll do until I can’t do it anymore. It’s a life’s work.”

Around age five, Wynn moved to Texas with his family and witnessed his mother being abused by his stepfather. His mother experienced two miscarriages because of the violence. He recalls one night when a police officer told his mother that if he had to come back that he was “locking her [Wynn’s mother] up.” At that moment, he thought that the “person who was supposed to protect us,” had left. His older brother and sister eventually decided to run away, and his mother barely made it away from Wynn’s stepfather before moving back to Tennessee.

After high school, Wynn was a reporter at a newspaper and saw law enforcement from the media’s point of view, but his ultimate goal was to obtain a career in law enforcement. He met his wife, Valerie, through the Nashville Police Department where she worked with victims in the Domestic Violence Division. He stated her founding of the Mary Parrish Center as a source of inspiration. He’s witnessed the lives of many women transformed because of the work of the center. He recalls unique experiences of survivors and their individual stories, which included getting a car, obtaining employment, finding safe permanent housing, gaining financial independence, and even getting their teeth fixed!

“I am a Feminist – I’ll use the ‘F-word.’ I’m proud of that. Everybody should be.”

NNEDV: You woke up this morning and gender-based violence has been completely eradicated. What are you going to do now?

MW: “That statement is a dream. What a wonderful world it would be if that were to happen tomorrow. I’d take a few days off and think about what next cause to get involved with. For me, crimes against women and violence in the family is a basic civil rights issue – I certainly don’t claim to be a giant like Rep. John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, or Rosa Parks, but I’d take my experience and what I’ve learned from advocates, officers, and victims in this fight and use it somewhere else. We still have homophobia, we still have racism. There’s just so much work to do. I think I’d find another cause to work on.”

In addition, Wynn mentioned he’d certainly take a long vacation with his wife! He understands the importance of self-care; he and his wife attempt to take a trip to Italy each year!

NNEDV: If you could sit down over your beverage of choice with any person – living or dead – who would it be and why?

Wynn didn’t have to think long about this answer: His mother. He noted that to sit down with Martin Luther King, Jr., or President Lincoln would be great, but “I miss and love my mother more and more every day.” Wynn had the opportunity to deliver a speech at the White House in 1995 on strategies to prevent domestic violence, an event that his late mother had the chance to witness. “So much has happened since she’s passed away,” he recalls, “I’d tell her about the women who have gone through the center named after her and how their lives have been saved and changed.”

“She’s responsible for all that I have. She made me the man that I am. She taught me how to be a man. I see her face every day. She was so brave. She’s a part of me and I’m a part of her, so I’d love to sit down and tell her how much I miss and love her.”

Black Eyes Don’t Lie by Donna Ferrato

TIME: Black Eyes Don’t Lie by Donna Ferrato

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 | News

She didn’t run into a door. She didn’t get punched by a stranger in the street. Someone who claimed to love her did this. The nurses and doctors in the ER know it. The cops know it. The neighbors know it. The children know it. But no one really wants to know it. Women with black eyes make people uneasy.
He seems like such a great guy! Such a great father, such a great athlete, such a great provider. He said, she said. She’s lying. Or she provoked him. He’s well connected. Let’s give him another chance. And another. He has the power. He has the money. Judges and lawyers often worry first about his ability to support the family —never mind how badly he hurts everyone living under the same roof. And society looks away from the woman’s face.

The black eye is usually inflicted when the children are in bed and there is nobody around. But one night I was a witness, and I opened the book on society’s hypocrisy. When I saw a woman being threatened and punched by the father of her three sons, I was scared but prepared, because I had a camera in my hands. Caught on this marital battleground, my instincts told me to get the proof. When I saw his hand rise up to hit her, I knew I had to freeze that moment of truth. My series of photographs changed my outlook. I could no longer be a denier. I saw the whole picture. He was in the wrong, and she was trapped in the gilded cage of his warped world. I was a witness with a camera, and my documentation improved her chance of being believed.

From that point everything changed. My photograph of a battered woman cowering in the bathroom became a cry against violence in the home. It was the first time society was forced to look at the mess under the rug. Now I too had a dream: Someday the world would wake up to the disadvantage that women have in their intimate relationships with men. I would make everyone look into their eyes.
Last week Colbie Holderness bravely went public with a photograph of her black-and-blue face. The photo was taken by Rob Porter, the man who allegedly abused her, his other ex-wife, Jennie Willoughby, and an unnamed ex-girlfriend. Soon afterwards, the president of the United States stood in the Oval Office and announced his support for Rob Porter. It was his word against hers, he said, and he believed his staff secretary. But the President can’t sweep that photograph of Holderness’s black eyes under the rug. Everyone can see the truth there. Black eyes don’t lie.

Originally published on, February 12, 2018

Domestic Violence Resource Center:January 2018

Domestic Violence Resource Center

ann patricia coleman

the most current information check out my

Women’s Shelters: for Women and their Children

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Alliance for Justice

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424 East 92nd St.NY,NY 10128


Avon:See The Signs

Avon Foundation for Women launches employer training program to help bystanders become upstanders when suspecting abuse

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800-903-0111 ext. 2

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A project of NNEDV providing information and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault orders of protection forms online.


Lundy Bancroft: Should I Stay Or Should I Go (2011):In this supportive and straight forward guide Lundy Bancroft, the author of Why Does He Do That and communication specialist, JAC Parissi, offer a way for women to practically take stock of their relationships and move forward with or without their partners. Women involved in chronically frustrating or unfulfilling relationships will learn to: tell the difference between a healthy-yet difficult relationship and one that is really not working,recognize that their partner has a serious problem,stop waiting to see what happens and make their own growth the priority,prepare for life without their partner-even as they keep trying to make the relationship work.

Lundy Bancroft: The Batterer As Parent (2002 and 2011)

Moving beyond the narrow clinical perspective sometimes applied to viewing the emotional and developmental risks to battered children. The Batterer As Parent, addressing the impact of domestic violence on family dynamics, the second edition, offers a view that takes into account the complex ways in which a batterer’s abusive and controlling behaviors are woven into the fabric of daily life. This book is a guide for therapists, child protective workers, family and juvenile court personnel and other human service providers in addressing the complex impact that batterers, specifically male batterers of domestic partners, when there are children in the household have on family functioning. In addition to providing an understanding of batterers as parents and family members, the book also supplies clearly delineated approaches to such practical issues as assessing risk to children perpetrating incest, parenting issues in child custody and visitation evaluation and the impact on children’s therapeutic process and family functioning in child protective practice.

Lundy Bancroft: When Dad Hurts Mom (2004)

Nearly three quarters of women who are chronically mistreated by their partners have children. In this sensitive, respectful book, counselor, speaker, teacher and activist Bancroft gives those women ways to help their children heal from the pain of seeing such abuse. Using anecdotes, Q & A’s, bulleted points to remember and a caring but firm tone, Bancroft tells abused mothers exactly the actions they should take to help their children. Don’t blame children or yourself, he says and let children know it’s good to talk about the verbal or physical abuse they have been exposed to. Bancroft coaches moms to tell their children that abuse is wrong, but warns them not to criticize the abusers a person if he is a father figure to the children. Bancroft’s important book addresses peripheral issues too, such as separation and divorce and deals with child protective services and the family court system.

Lundy Bancroft: Why Does He Do That: Inside The Minds Of Angry Controlling Men (2002)

Bancroft, a former co director of Emerge, the first US program for abusive men, and a fifteen year veteran of work with abusive men, reminds readers that each year in this country, two to four million women are assaulted by a husband or boyfriend at some point in her life. His valuable resource covers early warning signs, ten abusive personalities, the abusive mentality, problems getting help from the legal system and the long complex process of change. After dispelling 17 myths about abusive personalities, he sheds light on the origin of the abusers values and beliefs which he finds to be a better explanation of abusive behaviors than a reference to psychological problems. Bancroft extends his approach to problematic gay and lesbian relationships as well, making the book that much more useful and empowering. This is essential reading for those in the helping professions and highly recommended for all libraries, especially those in communities with emergency shelter programs.

Susan Brewster: Helping Her Get Free: A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women

Seal Press (2006)

Originally published Helping Her Get Free with the title, To Be An Anchor From The Storm. The survivor of an abusive relationship herself, and a licensed counselor of abused women for more than a decade, Susan Brewster teaches readers how to recognize the signs of abuse, handle negative feelings, become an effective advocate, deal with the abuser and more. With a new introduction and updated resource section, this straight forward and compassionate book offers the information needed to help give strength to women who are trying to break free.

Susan Brownmiller: Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (1993)

The most comprehensive study of rape ever offered to the public. It forces readers to take a fresh look at their own attitudes toward this devastating crime. As powerful and timely as when it was first published, Against Our Will, stands as a unique document of the history of politics, the sociology of rape and the inherent and ingrained inequality of men and women under the law. In lucid, persuasive prose, Brownmiller has created a definitive, devastating work of lasting social importance. Chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the outstanding books of the year.

Ross Chiet:The Witch Hunt Narrative, Politics ,Psychology and the Sexual Abuse of Children: Oxford University Press 2014 USA

Empirically challenges the view that a series of high- profile cases in the 1980’s and early 1990’s were hoaxes. Shows how a narrative based on empirically thin evidence became a theory with real social force and how that theory stood at odds with the reality of child sexual abuse.

Jill Davies, Eleanor Lyons, Diane Monti-Cantania: Safety Planning With Battered Women: Complex Lives Difficult Choices: Sage Series on Violence Against Women (1998)

The model emphasizes understanding a battered women’s perspective, including her risk analysis and safety plan; building partnerships with battered women; and systems advocacy. It seeks to craft courses of action that will enhance women’s safety given their individual realities.

Donna Ferrato:”Living with the Enemy”

Aperture Foundation:1991

Ferrato rode over 6,000 hours with police around the country to get some of the photographs in Living With the Enemy. In the introduction to Living With the Enemy, Ferrato writes, “Much of the book was born out of frustration – first, because I felt powerless in the face of the violence I had seen, and, second, because for a long time no magazine would publish the pictures. It was only when I received the W. Eugene Smith Award in 1986 that magazine editors began to take the project seriously.” Ferrato felt the problem had been concealed from public view for too long and it was important to show as many aspects of the problem as she could. Some of the names in the book were changed, but all of the photographs stories are real.

Meg Kennedy Dugan & Roger Hock: It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After An Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence (2006)

Those who have never experienced an abusive or violent relationship often believe that when finding a way out, victims’ difficulties are solved, their life is good, they are safe and recovery will be swift. However survivors know that leaving is not the end of the nightmare, it is the beginning of an often difficult and challenging journey through healing and happiness. It’s My Life Now offers readers the practical guidance; emotional reassurance and psychological awareness that survivors of relationship abuse and domestic violence need to heal and reclaim their lives after leaving their abusers. Since its publication in 2000, It’s My Life Now, has been highly successful as a working manual for survivors who are starting their lives over after an abusive relationship. This valuable book combines direction on practical and emotional issues with worksheets and self exploration exercises. Now in the second edition, Dugan and Hock include updated information and resources while encompassing a wider range of individuals and the relationships in which abuse and violence occur. The new edition also provides a new emphasis on safety assessment which has increasingly been shown to be a critical factor in recovery. In addition, this new addition includes current resources and information about organizations for victims along with revised and enhanced strategies to help survivors move forward on the path of recovery.

G. Ennis & J. Black: It’s Not OK Anymore (1997)

Your personal guide to ending abuse, taking charge and loving yourself.

David Finkelhor: License To Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives (1987)

Two Psychologists examine the psychological and social implications of sexual abuse within the marriage, in a study that explores the motives behind the marital rape, the emotional and legal aspects and patterns of sexual abuse.

Ann Jones: Next Time She’ll Be Dead: Battering And How To Stop It (2000)

In Next Time She’ll Be Dead, Ann Jones argues that all women have the right to live free from bodily harm. Yet violence against women continues. Next Time She’ll Be Dead examines four habits of the American mind that cloud our thinking about women battering and contribute to the persistence of what we euphemistically call domestic violence.

Ann Jones: When Love Goes Wrong: What To Do When You Can’t Do Anything Right (1993)

This book was written at the request of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to benefit millions of women who find themselves in relationships with controlling or abusive partners and don’t know what to do or even what’s wrong. A woman may feel confused, anxious, inadequate, intimidated or as if she is walking on egg shells. She may find herself trying harder to make things right without ever being successful.

Nicholas Kristof: Half The Sky (2009)

The courageous book by Nicholas Kristof about sex trafficking of girls and women internationally.

Paula Lucas: Harvesting Stones A true story of an American mothers attempt to get to safety with her sons, living through “terror at home” with little help while abroad. Her courageous story and her eventual success to return to the United States, away from the madman she married. She has since organized an organization for battered mothers and children living abroad to return to safety in the United States. email:

Del Martin: Battered Wives (1981) Battered Wives is the first (and still the best) general introduction to the problem of abuse. Battered Wives includes excellent critical summaries of the legal and political status of battered wives and the extent to which their immediate predicament must be understood in broad political terms. Del Martin argues that the basis of the problem is not in husband/wife interaction or immediate triggering events, but in the institution of marriage, historical attitudes toward women, the economy and inadequacies in legal and social service systems. Martin wants police and prosecutor functions constrained. She proposes specific legislation prohibiting wife abuse and suggests that judges protect the wife by closing the door to probation and de-emphasizing reconciliation. Other considerations concern gun control, equal rights and marriage contract legislation. Battered Wives is the seminal benchmark title on the subject of domestic violence.

Amy Neustein: From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running From the Family Courts And What Can Be Done About It (2006)

In this astonishing book sociologist Amy Neustein and attorney Michael Lesher examine the serious dysfunction of the nation’s family courts – a dysfunction that too often results in the courts’ failure to protect the people they were designed to help. Specifically, the authors chronicle cases in which mothers who believe their children have been sexually abused by their fathers are disbelieved, ridiculed or punished for trying to protect them. All too often the mother in such a case, is deemed the unstable parent and her children are removed from her care to be placed in foster care or even with the father credibly accused of abusing them. From Madness to Mutiny offers an overview of family court malfunction mutiny that results from it. The authors outline the legal landscape that makes the madness possible and shows how the system has failed to react to severe criticism from media and legislators. And they discuss ways to reform the family courts with the goal of transforming them from instruments of punishment to true institutions of justice.

Anna Quindlen: Black and Blue (1998)

For eighteen years Fran Benedetto kept her secret, hid her bruises. She stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father, and because in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten year old son’s face, Fran finally made a choice and ran for both of their lives. Now she is starting over in a city far from home, far from Bobby. In this place she uses a name that isn’t hers, watches over her son, and tries to forget. For the woman who now calls herself Beth, every day is a chance to heal, to put together her shattered self. And every day she waits for Bobby to catch up to her. Bobby always said he would never let her go and despite the ingenuity of her escape, Fran Benedetto is certain of one thing, it is only a matter of time.

Victor Rivers: A Private Family Matter (2006)

“This is a story about how I was saved by love at a time when most people considered me beyond rescue.” So begins Victor Rivas Rivers in this powerful chronicle of his escape from the war zone of domestic violence – too often regarded as a “private family matter” and his journey toward independence, recovery and renewal. In A Private Family Matter, Victor recalls his days as an angry youth living under the rule and wrath of his father. A Cuban immigrant, Victor’s dad was nicknamed El Ciclon for his tempestuous temperament, which led him not only to beat his wife but to abuse and eventually kidnap his own children. How Victor managed to seek help for his family and criminal punishment for his father, overcome demons and learn to love himself and share his experience with other victims and survivors of domestic abuse is the heart of this profound and affecting memoir.

Angela Shelton: Finding Angela Shelton (2008)

The true story of a girl sexually molested by her own father and her courageous journey to healing and exposing the crimes of her father. The father that stole her childhood.

Gloria Steinem: My Life On the Road:2015: A woman of courage,Gloria Steinem and action. An essential book on the political culture in this country,womens politics and the theme of men continuing to attempt to silence the voice of the women feminists. A reminder to all of who we are and what we can accomplish when we are united,women united

Lenore Walker: The Battered Woman (1980)

Battering is one of the underreported, over mythologized crimes. It is terrifying in its privacy, its intimate violence, its displaced rage and distorted eroticism. Professor Walker’s study suggests that not only is it not a crime of the drunken, ethnic, working classes, but also that battered women are far more common in the middle class and higher income homes where the power of their wealth is in the hands of their husbands. In addition to carefully written and inevitably disturbing case studies, Professor Walker’s book includes sections on preventative education, practical remedies, including safe-houses and a careful discussion of psychotherapy. It is a sensible, compassionate feminist book

Susan Weitzman: Not To People like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages (2001)

Chicago’s affluent North Shore provides 20 year veteran psychologist Weitzman with abundant evidence of the secret lives of upscale domestic abusers and their victim wives. Shattering the cultural myth that emotional and physical violence in the home is confined to couples of a lower socioeconomic class, the author presents vivid case histories that are often excluded from clinical studies and statistics. Lacking a frame of reference for domestic violence with this echelon, healthcare professionals ignore the signs, while law enforcement agents and judges go easy on it, she contends. Few believe or sympathize with a well dressed ,bejeweled woman if she finds the courage and self respect to speak out against her successful, respected, powerful and often charming husband, while battered women’s shelters turn her away, assuming that she has many other resources. But according to Weitzman she doesn’t. While often well educated and successful the “upscale abused woman” is typically ignorant of her legal rights, convinced by her abuser that she is responsible for his behavior and isolated by her denial and shame from validating voices and potential assistance. Weitzman’s upscale abuser exhibits narcissistic personality disorder, feels eminently entitled and is incapable of seeing his wife as a person in her own right. Weitzman provides excellent practical advice for these women to make choices that extricate them from abuse and proposes a new language and better education regarding” upscale violence” for the professionals who are likely to see it with her work.

Karen Winner: Divorced From Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges (1996)

Contact with the divorce court system may be extremely dangerous. You may lose your children, your home, your life savings and your health. Before you enter a divorce lawyer’s office or courtroom, read this book to protect yourself and your children. It provides a vital road map through the treacherous landscape of divorce. A full fledged assault against women and children is under way in the divorce courts across the country. Women are losing their economic security, their homes, their child support and even their children because of corrupt court proceedings. In Divorced From Justice, Karen Winner explodes the myth that divorce laws were created to protect women and children financially and reveals how all women, from poor and working class women to professional women of affluent means, are all too often at the mercy of divorce lawyers who deal in dirty tricks, and judges who flagrantly violate the laws they are supposed to uphold.


A Cry For Help: The Tracey Thurman Story: Written by Beth Sullivan

A true story of a woman, Tracey Thurman, who was brutally beaten by her husband many times. She contacted the police department numerous times in Torrington, Ct., her police department that failed to protect her even with an order of protection in place against him. After he had threatened to kill her and kidnapped her son, she contacted the Torrington, Ct. police department and they continued to ignore her ex-husband’s threats. After she was attacked by her ex-husband with the police department present and witnesses, her lawyer, Burton Weinstein, filed a lawsuit against the town of Torrington, Ct. and the Torrington, Ct,. Police Department. She won the law suit with a 2.5 million dollar settlement and her ex-husband went to jail.

Black and Blue: Anna Quindlen

The story of a woman married to a police officer that brutally beats her. Escaping with her child, she attempts to start a new life against all odds of him discovering their hard won freedom.

Born Into Brothels

DVD documentary about sex slaves, women and girls.

Brave Miss World

Documentary by Cecelia Peck:

The film explores the trauma of sexual assault through one woman’s journey from teenage rape victim, to Miss World, to empowered lawyer and activist.

Documentary Filmmaker Cecelia Peck featured on “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Featuring Joan Meier, George Washington University. Stories of children and their protective mothers up against family court corruption, in state failure to protect them from violent husbands and fathers, physical abuse, psychological “terror at home” and sexual abuse.

Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope: Victor Rivers

Breaking the Silence Journeys of Hope is a penetrating examination of the pervasiveness of domestic violence in our society, the efforts that are being made to combat it, and the lives of women who became survivors instead of victims.

Half The Sky: Nicholas Kristof

The courageous documentary about sex trafficking internationally of girls and women.

NCPTC Saving Children, The Sexual Abuse Tragedy

Victor Vieth: Director of NCPTC, documents the true stories of children and protective mothers’ attempts to get to safety, to get away from violent men molesting their own children. With evidence of sexual molestation of children, he exposes the continued state failure to put an end to sex abuse of children in the United States.

No Way Out But One Garland Waller documents, with her husband news reporter Barry Nolan, the true story of Holly Collins and her eventual realization that she must leave her own country, the United States, to escape a violent husband and violent father to her children. She moves undercover to the Netherlands, given the refusal of the United States to put an end to the “terror at home,” which she and her children lived with in her husband’s home. She was put on the FBI watch list after her escape. This heartfelt documentary by Garland Waller exposes the complete refusal of the family courts and law enforcement to protect this mother and her children. The complete refusal to make violence against protective mothers and children a crime.

Private Violence

A documentary film by Cynthia Hill, that was introduced at Robert

Redford’s Sundance Film Festival last year and is now on HBO, currently on HBO on Demand and HBO Go, and showcased all over the country. An important and courageous film on violence against women, protective mothers and their children that is a true portrayal of state failure and community failure to protect brutally battered and terrorized women, protective mothers and their children.

An Emmy nomination,2015, Outstanding Informational Programming: HBO Documentary Films:for this important and courageous film about male violence against women, protective mothers and their children in the United States.



contact Kit and Cynthia

social media: linkedin and facebook

Searching for Angela Shelton: Angela Shelton

The story of a young girl sexually molested by her own father. Her story of finding peace and saying no more to the father that stole her childhood from her by molesting her.

Sleeping With The Enemy

The story of a woman’s escape from a dangerous and violent husband to begin a new life with a new identity. A violent man that tracks her down with her new found freedom and attempts to murder her.

Small Justice Garland Waller exposes the injustice in the family courts in the United States, the judicial and political corruption. She documents her interviews with the PAS “hired gun” Richard Gardner of the fathers’ rights movement, Richard Gardner the man that committed suicide, he and his bogus theory used in the family courts that allows children to be brutalized by their violent fathers, and children who are sexually molested by their violent fathers. This sick man, Richard Gardner, uses the excuse that the mother has “alienated” the children from the father as the reason the mother is desperate to leave a violent marriage and attempts to get her children to safety. PAS, parental alienation syndrome, is used quite often in the family courts against protective mothers.

The Color Purple: Alice Walker

The story of a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister”, a brutal man who terrorizes her.

The Hunting Ground


From the Academy Award-nominated filmmakers behind The Invisible War comes a startling expose of rape crimes on US campuses,institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. The Hunting Ground is a must see account of the harsh retaliation,harassment and pushback survivors face as they pursue their education while fighting for justice.Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2015,Official Selection Sundance Film Festival

Wounded to Death

Featured on

“Wounded To Death”,is a book reading event based on the work of Italian authors Serena Dandini and Maura Misita presented at the” Trust Women Conference” about violence against women internationally.

Journalists: Articles On Domestic Violence

Kate Bailey

“A Domestic Violence Law That Shines a Light on Coercive Control”

The Guardian:December 7,2015

Walt Bogdanich

“Reporting Rape and Regretting It: Inside a University Inquiry”

International New York Times

July 12, 2014

Michael Brick

“Humbled By Scandal Judge Begins Prison Sentence”

New York Times 2007

Stephen Castle

“Kerry Joins Envoys to Deplore Sexual Violence in War”

International New York Times

June 13, 2014

Eric Eckholm

National legal correspondent

“No longer ignored, evidence solves rape cases years later”

International New York Times

August 2,2014

Liz Ford

Deputy Editor for Global Development

The Guardian


“Women’s Rights the Focus as World Leaders Gather for NY Talks”

March 10, 2014

“Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict”, What’s Your Message to the World Leaders

May 29, 2014

Anne Grant

“Profiteering at the R.I. Family Court”

Providence Journal 2007

Blog: “Rhode Island’s little hostages”

Melissa Jeltsen:Senior Reporter Huffington Post:3/30/2016

3 Women Are Killed Every Day By Their Partners.

Here Are 59 Ideas on How To Stop The Violence

Michael Kimmelman

International Herald Tribune: October 3, 2013

“Next Time Maybe Libraries Can Be Shelters From The Storm”

Kristen Lombardi

“Custodians of Abuse”

Boston Phoenix

Steve McCurry

Photojournalist featured in “Lens” International New York Times

“Behind Closed Doors”

The powerful photography exhibit by international photographer, Steve McCurry of the

“Behind Closed Door” exhibit, exposing violence against domestic workers, violence against women, protective mothers and children internationally.



CNN:Ben Wright:Threatened,assaulted,trapped,treatment of domestic workers.

Jeff Morris

“Domestic Violence Victims Get Help”

Lewisboro Ledger

March 12,2015

Laurie Penny

“Britain’s crime of complicity with Savile’s sex abuse scandal”

New York Times

July 30, 2014

Abby Phillip

“Salvation Army puts #the dress in a new light with powerful domestic violence ad”

“Why is it so Hard to see Black and Blue”:Stop Abuse Against Women Campaign

South Africa

The Washington Post

March 6,2015

Dan Reiner

“After Pound Ridge double-murder suicide, community takes steps to prevent tragedies”

The Journal News

December 17,2017

Adrianne Sanders

“Well to Do Domestic Violence Victims Hide in the Shadows at Their Own Peril”

lohud:The Journal News

January 22,2016

Sarah Shoener

”Two Parent Households Can be Lethal: Domestic Violence and the Two Parent Household”

New York Times Sunday Review

June 21, 2014

Michael Souza

“A Victim’s Story: Pain and Triumph Over Domestic Violence”

Narragansett Times 2007: Rhode Island

Till Death Do Us Part”

2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners in Journalism,Letters,Drama and Music

By The New York Times April 20,2015

Public Service Award:Staff Post and Courier in Charleston South Carolina

Series on domestic violence in America and the state failure to protect women, protective mothers and their children from male violence


Ann Patricia Coleman

Donna Ferrato

Steve McCurry