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    Steps to take in a domestic violence situation

    7:03 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
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    Video: Steps to take in a domestic violence situation

    Domestic violence, according to an FBI study, is one of the most under reported crimes in this country. If you are the victim of domestic abuse or know someone who is, call 911. You can also call a Arkansas abuse hotline (http://on.kthv.com/zh0E1M) for anywhere in the state or the U.S. hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

    The Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence also has a state map where you can find a local shelter.

    A great way to protect yourself is to get educated about abuse (http://on.kthv.com/w46hkP). The Coaliton has several online tools you can use to learn statistics, getting a safety plan, safety tips for kids and much more.

    There are several forms of abuse. Abuse includes, but is not limited to:

    Physical
    Hitting, slapping, strangulation, etc.
    Kicking, burning, cutting
    Using or threatening to use a weapon
    Killing or maiming a pet
    Destroying home or belongings

    Sexual
    Rape
    Forced sex, forces sex with others
    Unwanted sexual practices
    Sexual abuse of victim's child

    Emotional
    Constant verbal harassment
    Humiliation
    Food or sleep deprivation
    Threats or accusations
    Isolation from family or friends

    Economic
    Not permitting victim to work
    Taking victim's money 

    If you need more information about domestic violence or where you can find help, you can contact the Coalition at 800-269-4668 or (501) 907-5612 or find them at 1401 West Capitol Suite 170 in Little Rock.
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    Arkansas has resources that can help individuals involved in domestic violence. There are shelters around the state and can be found at this link. The national hotline number is : 800-799-SAFE (7233).

    One of those shelters include the Dorcas House in Little Rock.

    "If women come here, they have a high chance of staying out of domestic violence and go through our whole nine month program and graduate," says Dorcas VanGilst, director of Women's Ministries that runs Dorcas House, a shelter for abused women and children.

    At the Dorcas House, clients go through counseling covering all types of topics from domestic violence to parenting to sexual abuse recovery. Yet, just getting to the shelter, can be a challenge.

    "If you're in a situation where you cannot leave safely, then call police," says VanGilst.

    Maumelle Lieutenant Jim Hansard says calling police should be the victim's first steps before the violence gets way out of hand.

    "You are establishing a paper trail and pattern of behavior for the courts," says Lt. Hansard.

    Dorcas House can help victims get an order of protection. The shelter has food, clothes, and beds, but to make the transition easier, VanGilst recommends the women bring important documents.

    "Bring in essentials like medications, your driver's license, and birth certificate," says VanGilst.

    These are documents needed to help these families start over and recover from abusive relationships.

    Follow her on Twitter @pbaccam.

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