Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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Why Do Victims Feel Trapped? Why Don’t They Just Leave?

Many people who are abused by their intimate partners don’t want the relationship to end. They just want the violence and abuse to stop.

Even under the best of circumstances, it is not easy to end a relationship with an intimate partner. Love, family, shared memories, and commitment are bonds that are hard to break. Cultural or religious beliefs may be barriers to ending a marriage. Immigration status may be another obstacle. While ending a relationship is hard for anyone, women who are abused face the added risks of physical, emotional and psychological harm. There are risks that come with every decision a victim of abuse makes.

Why do they stay? There are many reasons why it may be difficult to end a relationship with an abusive partner. The choices victims are faced with are not risk-free. Leaving is not always the safest or best option. The real question should be: “Why doesn’t the abuser just stop being abusive?”

Risks of Getting Help or Deciding to Leave

Risks of Physical Violence and Psychological Harm

Risks to Children

Risks to Relationship

Risks to Relationships with Family, Friends, and Community

Risks to Finances


NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline

English & español, Multi-Language Accessibility National Relay Service for Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711


In NYC: 311 or 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

TDD: 1-866-604-5350