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How to Help Yourself

If you have recently experienced abuse in a relationship:

  • Find a safe place as soon as possible. The Women’s And Children’s Alliance (WCA) is a local domestic violence shelter in Boise, and Hope’s Door is a shelter available in Caldwell.  In addition to shelter, they each offer case management, counseling, safety planning, and legal advocacy.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you have any injuries.
  • To consult with a victim’s advocate, you can contact the Gender Equity Center or the Women’s and Children’s Alliance.  The Violence Prevention and Support Coordinator (VPSC)  is housed in the Gender Equity Center (208) 426-4259 and provides confidential support. Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The VPSC can speak with you on the phone or in person to provide options about safety planning, shelter, protection orders, police reporting, medical and counseling services, student conduct options, and a variety of other resources. You may also consult with an advocate from the Women’s And Children’s Alliance (WCA) domestic violence by calling the 24-hour hotline (208) 343-7025.
  • Consider calling call Ada County Dispatch (208) 377-6790 or University Security and Police Services (208) 426-1453 to report a crime.  In an emergency, dial 911.
  • If you have experienced sexual violence you can report to the police and a sexual assault forensic examination may be requested. Most examinations are completed at Faces Family Justice Center, located at 417 S. 6th Street, 577-4400; this specialized facility is near campus and conducts sexual assault exams with experienced Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) nurses. It is rare for forensic (evidence gathering) exams to be completed at hospitals, unless there is a physical injury that requires emergent treatment.
  • If you choose to prosecute the person who sexually assaulted you, please understand that evidence is best collected within 72 hours of the assault. To preserve physical evidence, don’t shower or bathe, wash your hands or clothing, change your clothing or bedding, use the toilet, or eat or drink. Refraining from these actions may provide a forensic examiner better access to evidence on your body and clothing.
  • Seek counseling. Counseling is available on campus through University Health Services (208) 426-1601 and there are many counselors available in the community.
  • Tell someone who will be supportive of you and who understands the dynamics of abusive relationships.  If you tell someone and they do not understand or are not supportive, tell someone else.  Sometimes the people you tell can’t handle their own feelings when they hear what you say to them. Denial is one way they cope with their feelings of fear, pain, anger, guilt, and remorse. They might tell you that you’re exaggerating or that it didn’t happen. These responses are common for people who don’t understand the dynamics of relationship violence. However, you deserve support.
  • Make a list of family and friends who could help in an emergency. Carry their phone numbers with you at all times as well as a cell phone to make a phone call.
  • Find out your legal rights. Violence is against the law. No one deserves to be hurt or abused. No one has a right to hurt you.
  • If you have made a decision to leave an unhealthy relationship and seek support, believe that things can get better and know that your strength and self-esteem will begin to grow.
  • Believe in yourself; it’s not your fault.

If it has been some time after an abusive incident:

  • Take steps to ensure your safety, consider speaking confidentially with the VPSC at the Gender Equity Center, or a Case Manager with the Women’s and Children’s Alliance.
  • You can make a police report from almost any location, including Faces Family Justice Center.  To make a report, call Ada County Dispatch (208) 377-6790 or University Security and Police Services (208) 426-1453.
  • Advocates staffing the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) 24-hour domestic violence crisis line (208) 343-7273 can provide referral information and help answer questions.

Consider participating in a support group or individual counseling.  Counseling is available through University Health services and The Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA).  The WCA also offers a few support groups for victims of domestic or sexual violence.