Things to think about when preparing to leave a violent relationship

If you think it may be time to leave a violent or potentially violent relationship, trust that instinct. Give us a call or visit to get set up with a Navigator. Every situation and every process of leaving is unique and entirely survivor driven, but it might be helpful to understand in general what the process looks like.

During your initial visit, you will meet with your Navigator who has received specialized training to administer and score a Danger Assessment. The first step is to complete this assessment, which helps identify the level of danger a person is currently in within their relationship. The tool was developed over decades with support from battered women, shelter workers, law enforcement officials and other clinical experts on battering.

Then your Navigator will discuss what services are available and help create a detailed safety plan, which is a plan for how to stay safe when violence escalates. It is important to note this can be completed at any stage of your journey whether staying safe in the home or staying safe planning your escape.

Here are a few questions that will help you and your Navigator figure out what steps are best to take and how to go about leaving while staying safe.

  • Are there children in the home?

Some research indicates that at least 10% of children are exposed to intimate partner violence every year, with as many as one-third exposed at some point during childhood or adolescence. The Division of Children and Family Services is on site to help you navigate leaving a violent relationship when there are children involved.

  • Do you need counseling?

Counseling is a critical tool to help you recover from intimate partner violence. If you have children who witnessed that violence, counseling is a must for their well-being as well. We partner with several agencies to provide the counseling you or your children may need.

  • Do you need emergency shelter?

Our partnerships with Harmony House and several other local shelters allow us to help find emergency shelter for you and your children so you remain safe while assessing your options.

  • Do you need to file a police report?

You are never required to involve the police when you visit us. However, if filing a police report will keep you and others safe and you’re ready, we have representatives from the Greene County Sheriff’s Department and the Springfield Police Department on site to assist you if you choose to file a report.

  • Do you need assistance with the civil or criminal justice systems?

If charges are filed against your abuser or you want a divorce or share property or children with your abuser, chances are you will want to speak to a lawyer to make sure you and your children are protected. Representatives from the Greene County Prosecutor’s office, Legal Services of Southern Missouri are on site to help.

Everyone’s situation is different but with the help of our Navigators and on-site partners, we will help you decide when the time is right and how to go about leaving a violent relationship. We are here to help you and your children and to let you know that you matter.


The Greene County Family Justice Center is a non-profit collaborative of local agencies offering comprehensive services to survivors of domestic, sexual, and family violence. Our services are trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and we welcome survivors at any point in their process. We partner with local non-profit service providers as well as local law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s office, and Children’s Division to make victim services more accessible and completely voluntary. If you do not want to participate in the criminal justice process, we support you.

Our vision is a future where we all work together to meet the needs of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors through comprehensive and accessible services, education and perpetrator accountability. Through a coordinated framework and co-located response, we strive to break the vicious generational cycle and community impact of domestic violence and resulting victimizations.

We can help you plan for your safety whether you plan to stay in the relationship, or you are actively trying to escape. All of our services are free, confidential and survivor centered. Have questions about what services are available? Visit us at 1418 E. Pythian Street or give us a call at 417-874-2600. We are open 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. For after-hours assistance, call the Harmony House/Victim Center’s 24-hour safe line at 417-864-SAFE (7233). If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.