Break Free from Abuse

Abuse (domestic violence) may be physical or emotional. It is a pattern of behaviors that abusers use to control others, usually their intimate partners. It may involve verbal, emotional, financial, and/or physical abuse. A victim of abuse may experience isolation and sense the loss control and choice over personal decisions. Abusive behavior toward others is wrong no matter who does it. It is not excused when the abuser and victim are family members or intimate partners.

Your Personal Safety Plan

Missouri Address Confidentiality Program

Call 866-509-1409 or visit www.MoSafeAtHome.com.

The Safe at Home program is a service for survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or stalking, who have relocated or are about to relocate, that helps keep their assailants from finding them.

Abuse (Domestic Violence) Resources

Law Enforcement Assistance

  • Emergency: Call 911
  • Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.), Clay County Sheriff's Department: 816-407-3910

Shelters and Hot Lines

  • Northland Domestic Violence Hotline: 816-452-8535
  • Kansas City Metro Hotline: 816-452-8535
  • National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 700-787-3224
  • Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline: 1-800-392-3738
  • Elder Abuse & Neglect Hotline: 1-800-392-0210
  • Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 or visit www.loveisrespect.org

Safe Exchange for Children

Clay County Transitions Safe-Exchange and Visitation Center

Clay County Transitions Safe-Exchange and Visitation Center Transitions is a child-friendly program for co-parents who have protective orders and families who need support to reduce the stress and conflict during exchanges of children. 816-736-8400

Child-Friendly Exchange Handbook PDF

Legal Assistance

Online Information

  • Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence Statewide - Resources for victims of abuse
  • Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP) is a nonprofit committed to providing domestic violence, sexual assault, and bias crimes advocacy and education to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community 816-561-0550 or www.kcavp.org
  • www.loveisrespect.org - This site for teens provides information on dating abuse.
  • www.abusedmen.com - This site devoted to male victims and survivors of domestic violence.
  • www.missouri.networkofcare.org - Missouri Network of Care provides online information for families, individuals, and agencies concerned with mental and emotional wellness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities.

Support Groups

Synergy Services offers support groups for victims of abuse (domestic violence). Call 816-587-4100 for more information.

Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) for abusers at Northland Dependency Services offers male and female intervention programs. 816-472-4637

Synergy Services Domestic Violence Intervention Programs for abusers. Contact Sara Brammer at 816-587-4100 ext. 255. They accept both voluntary and court-ordered participants.

Court Advocate Services

Court Advocate Services is located on the first floor in the office of the Circuit Clerk. Resources and information for filing protective orders is available during weekday business hours. The office is staffed by a court advocate on Fridays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. (Funding provided by a Missouri Domestic Relations Resolution Fund grant.)

Impact of Abuse (Domestic Violence) on Children

Adapted from Through Their Eyes: Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Children. YWCA Seattle, WA (2010)

Domestic violence creates a culture of fear and intimidation that affects every family member. While research indicates there is significant overlap between domestic violence and child abuse, children can be affected just by witnessing domestic violence in their home. Even if the child is not a direct victim of physcial abuse, a child who witness violence can suffer a range of physical and/or emotional harms. A child's normal relationship to parents is disrupted and fear is often present. The children may be confused and frustrated by the abuser's behavior and feel powerless and angry at not being able to stop the abuse. The child develops a distorted concept of power and control. Children often blame themselves for the violence or believe they are the reason the batterer became angry. Parents often think their children do not know that the violence is occurring. But children are almost always aware of abusive behavior that is happening in the home. They notice the tension in their home - that "walking on eggshells" feeling. Children often try to "fix" the problem in order to avoid the next blow-up. If there is more than one child in the house, children may talk about the abuse among themselves. Children are often the ones who call 911 when violence happens, either with or without their parents' approval. Children also see the aftermath of violence in their homes - broken furniture and windows, injuries and emotional disturbances in themselves and their parents. Children can also become involved when they are used as a physical or emotional tool by the perpetrator of abuse.

Physical Problems

In infancy physical problems may include low birth weight and digestive problems. As children age, bedwetting, stomachaches, ulcers, headaches, insomnia, nightmares, eating disturbances, and severe acne surface. Often the physical problems are indicators of more serious emotional problems.

Emotional Problems

Children who have witnessed domestic violence may sufferlow self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, hypersensitivity, hypervigilence (i.e., the inability to turn off mental activity for any length of time; often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder), repressed or overt anger and resentment, extreme guilt or self-blame and shame, impraired ability to form social relationships with peers, teachers and other adults.

Behavioral Problems

When children do not have the verbal skills to express what is wrong, they use other means to convey that they are hurting, such as: aggressive behavior toward peers and adults,fear or anxiety about separations (especially from the abused parent), withdrawal from social contact with others; choosing inappropriate peer relationships, learning and attention problems, and violence aimed at peers, younger siblings or animals. Children exposed to domestic violence over a period of time often develop warped attitudes about violence. They may identify with the abuser and learn that it is acceptable to use violence as a means of "conflict resolution." They may see violence as a means to enhance their self-image. On the flip side, those who identify with the survivor may learn that violent behavior directed at them is acceptable.