Violence Free Minnesota does not provide shelter or
direct advocacy services. If you need help:
or call a free, confidential domestic violence hotline like Minnesota DayOne at:
DayOne Crisis Hotline
Minnesota’s statewide hotline for people experiencing violence, 24/7/365
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
800.799.7233 or 800.787.3224 (TTY)
Domestic Violence Helpline
National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline
ThinkSelf – Deaf Advocacy Services
Text Hotline: 621.399.9995
LGBTQ+ Anti-Violence Crisis Line
Teen Dating Violence Hotline
StrongHearts Native Helpline
Native American Domestic Violence Helpline
What to expect if you call a hotline...
Direct connection to the domestic violence program near you.
Help to find resources in your area including safe shelter, advocacy, counseling, and legal assistance.
Crisis assistance, emotional support, and safety planning.
Access to hotline advocates in over a hundred languages through interpreter services.
What to expect if you call a program...
A caring, listening ear. All programs have people who can listen and help you sort out your options
Advocacy services. Most programs have specially trained advocates who can help with safety planning, welfare, Child Protective Services, disability services, immigration, housing, employment protections, and more
Emergency shelter. Many programs offer shelter or safe homes
Transitional housing. Some programs have longer term housing for survivors
Support groups. Some programs run groups for children, youth, and adults
Legal advocacy. Most programs offer information about protection orders and other civil matters. Most do not provide legal counsel, but can refer you to free or low cost attorneys
Crisis services. Many programs offer 24-hour crisis services
Mental and chemical health options. Some programs have mental health therapists on-site who provide individual therapy, as well as chemical health education groups. Most programs without on-site services can refer you to outside resources
What to expect if you go to a shelter...
Every shelter is different, but usually, you can expect that:
Shelters are free - no fees are charged to stay
Most shelters have shared kitchens, common areas, and bathrooms
If you have children, you will probably all share one bedroom
If you are alone, you may have to share a room
You are responsible for taking care of your own children
All shelters must welcome service animals
However, most shelters cannot accommodate pets. They will work with you to make arrangements to have your pets cared for elsewhere
Shelters have laundry facilities and supply linens (sheets, towels, and blankets)
They usually have emergency food, clothing, and toiletries available for the first few days of a stay
You will be asked to honor the privacy of other residents by not discussing their names or situations with anyone else
Shelters are concerned about everyone's safety, so you may be asked to keep the location a secret
Visitors are generally not allowed
Many shelters are able to provide some sort of transportation assistance to help get you to the shelter safely if you do not have the means to do so
What to expect if you call a legal advocate...
Every legal advocacy program is different, but usually, you can expect that:
Services are offered free of charge
Legal advocates are not attorneys and will be unable to give legal advice
Legal advocates can offer a range of services that might include:
Accompanying you to court
Helping you fill out paperwork
Helping you understand the civil or criminal process
Outlining or prioritizing the legal options that are available
Informing you about what actually goes on in court
Preparing you for a hearing or trial and giving support before, during, and after
Referring you to low or no-cost lawyers
Does Violence Free Minnesota provide shelter or services?
No. Please find a local program in your area HERE or call Minnesota's 24-hour hotline at 866.223.1111 to connect with an advocate.
What is relationship violence or relationship abuse?
Relationship abuse - also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence - is when one person in a current or former intimate relationship uses a pattern of behaviors and tactics to gain and maintain power and control over the other person. It is often a cycle that gets worse over time. It is not a one-time ‘incident.’ Abuse is not limited to physical violence. People who abuse use jealousy, social status, mental health, money and other tactics to control and abuse. Physical abuse may or may not be present when someone experiences emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, or another form of abuse. Abuse is not the victim’s fault. There is help.
What is power and control?
"Power and control" refers to a pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate their intimate partner. A person who chooses to abuse their partner systematically uses tactics such as threats, intimidation, and coercion to instill fear in their partner.
What are some warning signs that someone is experiencing relationship abuse?
Someone who is experiencing relationship abuse may become isolated from their friends and family, and may stop spending time with others or may make frequent excuses for not being able to see their loved ones.
They may seem more withdrawn or depressed, and sometimes may miss work or appointments.
They may blame themselves for their partners' abuse or may appear afraid around their partner, and may make excuses for violence in the relationship. Some victim/survivors may talk of "walking on eggshells" around their partner.
Someone who is experiencing relationship abuse may deny and/or minimize what they are going through, or talk about their partner as if they can do no wrong.
Sometimes, you may notice injuries or bruises, or attempts to cover them.
Their partner may control who they can spend time with, what they can wear, how much money they have and what they spend it on, and may criticize or humiliate them in front of others. When they are with other people, their partner may constantly call or message them.
Who experiences abuse?
Relationship abuse happens to people regardless of race, sex, gender identity, legal status, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Every culture has elements that condone intimate partner violence and elements that resist it.
What does a healthy relationship look like?
A healthy relationship consists of honesty and accountability; respect; trust and support; non-threatening behavior; shared responsibility; negotiation and mutual decision making through conflict; collaborative parenting; and economic transparency. While every relationship involves some level of conflict, in a healthy relationship, both people treat one another with equality and respect and are able to resolve disagreements without manipulation or violence.
How can I support my friend/family member who’s experiencing relationship abuse?
Talk to the person you believe may be being abused. Ask them if they need support and what they would like that support to look like. People who are being abused are in the best position to know what kind of outside support would be helpful and what might be harmful or dangerous. If they don't want to talk to you about what is going on in their relationship right now, by broaching the issue with them you have let them know that you are a person whom they can turn to for support in the future, should they need to. Encouragement and validation can be much more effective than pressuring them to leave. It is also important to recognize that not everyone in an abusive relationship defines success as leaving, and every victim/survivor has different ideas of success and safety.
What can I do if I'm worried my friend/family member is abusive?
Talk to the person you believe may be being abused. Ask them if they need support and what they would like that support to look like. People who are being abused are in the best position to know what kind of outside support would be helpful and what might be harmful or dangerous. If they don't want to talk to you about what is going on in their relationship right now, by broaching the issue with them you have let them know that you are a person whom they can turn to for support in the future, should they need to.
What can I do to be part of the movement to end relationship abuse?
Everyone has a part to play in the movement to end relationship abuse! Check out our Get Involved section and make sure to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to learn more.