Laura's House is a domestic violence crisis center located in Southern California. Their mission, as stated on their website is:

    • Changing social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

The twenty four hour a day hot line is toll free, 866-498-1511. If you are in danger or your children are in danger please call this number or visit their website. If you are using a computer at home be aware that some abusers are capable of tracking the history of which sites you have visited. You can clear the history. It may be safer to use a public computer from a public library if you have access. And if calling the shelter from a cell phone, be aware that some abusers check cell phone records. Do not put yourself in additional danger.

Laura's House is named for a real life woman named Laura, herself a victim of domestic violence, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 38. If you hear neighbors fighting, please call the police to intervene. Do not attempt to interfere yourself and risk possible injury. If you know of a child at risk, please contact social services.

Laura's house offers many services to victims. Their goal is to serve the entire family. In addition to therapy and counseling there is a 30 bed shelter. Influenced by the growing social needs of the community in which it works, Laura's House has responded by developing innovative residential and outreach programs to meet the unique needs of population groups such as Hispanic families, at risk teens and preschool children, each coping with the effects of domestic violence. Their success as an agency relies on our commitment to constantly appraise their services, review their results and search for opportunities to improve and expand.

From their website is the following information

At Laura's House we provide:

  • Individual and group counseling;

  • Life-skills education;

  • Support for victims and their children;

  • Education for teens on healthy relationships and teen dating violence.

Laura's House programs serve the entire family:

Crisis Hotline Support Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
(949)498-1511 or (866)498-1511 ( toll free )

Emergency Shelter (up to 30-45 days) Provides shelter, support and case management for 18 to 22 women and children.

Domestic violence effects people of all ages and incomes. Some of the early warning signs are a belligerent temper. Attempts to isolate you from friends and family. Belittling comments, and control issues. For example my former husband made it a habit to tell me stories about people I had met, sure to indicate how they did not like me. Although I was surprised sometimes at the things he said, I had no reason at first to doubt his word. Little by little I became very withdrawn. If I did have a phone call at the house he would grill me as soon as I got off of the phone. If I hesitated he would turn it around on me, and act as if asking about a phone call were the most natural thing in the world.

Except. . . .not matter what I said he took exception to. It became so much easier to just not have friends, which was of course, exactly how he liked it. As my depression became clinical he made a big show of dragging me from doctor to doctor to get me doped up and docile on Zoloft. Sometimes female victims of abuse have surprisingly high profile jobs. It may not be that your abuser actually takes you out of society, it's that you effectively stop communicating with anyone about what is going on in your life. To borrow a phrase from AA, Secrets keep us sick.

If you are hiding your bruises for shame, know that the shame is not yours. Something is wrong in your relationship. Please seek help and safe haven shelter. If not for you, at least for your children. If you think you are "taking it for the kids," and are willing to stay because he only hits you, please think again. Consider that viewing abuse is abuse in itself. Your children will have difficulty navigating a healthy relationship as adults if all you have modeled for them is unhealthy. Your sons may feel like hitting women when they get frustrated, your daughters may be attracted to controlling men. If you don't want that, get out as soon as you can.

Some victims of domestic violence use drugs to combat the emotional and physical pain. This may seem like it is helping your life short term. In the long term it is causing you more problems. Some shelters will not even accept drug addicted victims. Plus the legal system is much harder to navigate if you are high. Consider attending an AA meeting in your area or NA or Co-dependents 12 step. Drugs are wearing on the body physically, as well as judgment impairing.

For many women, leaving in itself is dangerous. It is better, whenever possible to plan ahead. Open a bank account in your name only. Rent a PO Box to get your own mail. Stash your ID's and things in a safety deposit box in a bank. Keep a journal of the abuse. In my experience the journal was admissible in court. My first husband did a lot of annoying things that skirted the line of legal. For example one time he called the electric company and instructed them to dig up my lawn. Not exactly illegal, yet quite shocking to wake up to. He would also break into my car and leave notes. I threw out the first one, then kept the rest as records. I wrote it all down in my journal. As he tried to explain in court he never did anything to me, the judge disagreed by saying, "Clearly he IS annoying" and granted my restraining order.