What to expect

Our statewide confidential hotline 1-866-644-3574 has advocates standing by 24 hours a day. To find the nearest domestic violence program in your community go to our Crisis Center page.

What to expect if you call an advocate

  • A caring listener - Anytime you are ready to talk trained advocates are ready to listen and help you sort out options.  
  • Emergency shelter. (see below for more information)
  • Support groups - Domestic violence programs run groups for victims and some programs have support groups for children and teens. 
  • Legal advocacy - Programs offer assistance in obtaining restraining orders. Advocates can refer you to other free or low cost legal services.
  • Information and help in obtaining public assistance.

What to expect if you go to a domestic violence shelter
Every shelter is different, but usually you can expect that:

  • Shelters are free — no fees are charged to stay. 
  • The shelter program has established rules and policies in order to provide equality, safety and support to all residents. 
  • Most shelters have shared kitchens, common areas, and bathrooms. 
  • If you have children, you will probably all share one bedroom. 
  • 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. 
  • Shelters can be stressful — this is group living with others who are experiencing tough times. However advocates are available to help you manage the stress.
  • 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 everybody's safety, so you may be asked to keep the location a secret. 
  • Visitors usually are not allowed.
  • Do not use drugs or alcohol in shelter. If you know it will be hard for you to stop using, staff are available to help you maintain or reclaim your sobriety.
  • No weapons are allowed in shelter, this includes guns and knives.
  • Some shelters will expect you to be in the house at certain times.

Before you call a shelter think about anything that concerns you. Ask for any details you need so you'll feel as comfortable as possible in making a decision about whether or not to go to shelter.

Your rights in shelter:
Every shelter has a different list of client’s rights. At the very least you can expect that:

  • You have the right to be treated with respect by the staff.
  • You have the right to get assistance from staff.
  • You have the right to ask questions about anything that is not clear to you.
  • You have the right to equal access to the program’s resources.
  • You have the right to talk with someone who will listen to you.
  • You have the right to expect that your beliefs and traditions will be respected.

*this page was adapted from the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Website

Get HELP Fast

Domestic Violence
24-hour Hotline
1-866-644-3574

Sexual Assault 24-hour Hotline
1-800-277-5570

Find a Crisis Center

Call our hotlines anywhere in New Hampshire for support. Stalking victims should call the Domestic Violence Hotline. TTY available at 1-800-Relay-NH.

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