Relationship Safety & Domestic Violence Prevention

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"However successful you are, there is no substitute for a close relationship. We all need them." --Francesca Annis

No matter what you're marital status (married, single, or even "it's complicated"), follow these tips for a safer love life.

Teen Dating Violence - Would you know the signs?

Teen Dating Violence - also called intimate relationship violence or intimate partner violence among adolescents or adolescent relationship abuse – includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person aged 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship. Find out more about teen dating violence here.

Take the Quiz
Do you know how to identify unhealthy relationship behaviors when you see them? What would you do if your friend were experiencing abuse?

See how savvy you are when it comes to dating by taking the full What's Really Going On? Video Quiz.

The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline provides young adults who are in intimate relationships with advice, support, safety tips, and legal help when it comes to relationships and abuse. To begin a chat with a dating advocate:
  • Text "loveis" to 77054
  • Call 1-866-331-9474 (TTY: 1-866-331-8453)
  • Chat live 24/7 at

No One Deserves to Be in an Abusive Relationship.

Read the signs below to learn whether you might be in an abusive relationship, and for resources that can help. It's time we put an end once and for all to domestic violence.
Does your partner:
  • Verbally demean or insult you?
  • Insist on knowing your every move every day?
  • Limit your access to money and mobility (for instance, a car)?
  • Show up unexpectedly or try to control your schedule?
  • Put down your ideas or beliefs?
  • Physically abuse or hurt you?
  • Constantly apologize and make promises to stop?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you might be in an abusive relationship. To learn more about the signs of domestic violence and to find way to help stop it, explore The No More Project online.

If you are ever in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1. For additional information, or to talk to someone locally about what you are going through, contact Action in Community Through Service (ACTS) of Prince William County.

ACTS 24-Hour Emergency Hotlines:
  • Crisis Hotline: 703-221-4951
  • Virginia Adult Protective Services: 1-800-832-3858
  • Virginia Child Protective Services: 1-800-552-7096
  • SAVAS (for Victims of Sexual Assault): 703-368-4141
  • Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault: 1-800-838-8238
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Are You Being Stalked?

According to the Stalking Resource Center, stalking - or a series of actions that makes you feel afraid or in danger - is a serious crime that can end violently or can escalate over time.
  • Stalking is no joke and an unacceptable dating practice. If someone repeatedly calls you, follows you, sends unwanted gifts or messages, threatens you, or appears in places you are unexpectedly, you should take it seriously and get help. Develop a safety plan and eliminate communication with the stalker as soon as possible. Keep all evidence of stalking and contact the Police. Are You Being Stalked?
  • If you are in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1.
  • To learn about making a safety plan, your rights, or other means of help in your area, call the Stalking Resource Center at 1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2244) or visit The National Center for Victims of Crime online.

Choosing the Right Self-Defense Strategy

Being prepared with carefully chosen self-defense tactics, techniques and strategies can make all the difference between life and death for the person who finds him- or herself in a violent situation. In addition to personal weapons mastered through practice in a self-defense program, personal protection devices such as tasers, keychains, pepper sprays, and firearms (just to name a few) are options for self-defense. However, it is important to consider these tips if you decide to take advantage of the use of personal protection devices.

  • No matter which device you choose, training in the use of the device is absolutely necessary before it can be used effectively and responsibly.
  • If you are close enough to an attacker to use a personal protection device, that device should act as a distraction to allow escape – not as an incapacitator. Consider learning self-defense tactics to prepare for escape, and so that should your personal protection device be taken and used against you, you are able to fight for it.
  • Learn more about self-defense classes held locally by contacting the Manassas City Police Department at 703-257-8110 or emailing the R.A.D. Program Coordinator, Charles Sharp at
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It's a (Safe) Date

You might not have control over whether your date picks up the check, but you can make sure you go home safely at the end of the night. Sexual assault in the dating world is a crime that affects our society and while it may not happen to you, it could. Even if you are not currently in the dating scene, take a quick glance at these simple tips and share them with someone who is. It might just save them from becoming a victim.

  • When you meet someone that you might like to see again, ask him for his phone number instead of giving yours out.
  • When meeting someone out for the first few times, consider meeting him or her at a public location instead of at home. Scheduling a group outing or double date can be a safe and fun option as well.
  • Purchase your drinks directly from a bartender or server, and never let it leave your sight, even for a second. Your safety and peace of mind are worth astronomically more than the cost of buying a drink to replace one that got left unattended.
  • When it comes to online dating, choose a site that has privacy policies in place for its members, and be cautious about how much you reveal about yourself. Never agree to give or loan money to someone you meet on an online dating site or chat room. Scam artists and financial predators use these sites to look for lonely targets.

Help Put an End to Sexual Violence.

Sexual violence comes in many forms. It includes unwanted fondling, touching, rape, and incest, and can include other forms of violence that are connected with sexual violence.
  • Reduce your risk of becoming a victim of sexual violence by learning self-defense and other risk reduction strategies, such as home security, personal safety, and domestic violence prevention.
  • Educate yourself on the signs and effects of sexual violence by visiting the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) online.
  • If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For confidential help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673).
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Know Your Boundaries with the Help of VINE

VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) allows survivors of crime to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and offender status 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To use VINE and begin receiving real-time updates by a method of your choosing (phone, email, etc), search and register for an offender by visiting VINE online or by calling 1-800-467-4943 (TTY: 1-800-847-1298).

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