In an emergency, call 911. For support and advocacy, call New Directions at 740-397-4357 (HELP).
Domestic and sexual violence are crimes. You have the right to be safe.

Get Help



Whether victims need assistance forming a safety plan to escape an abuser or recovering from a sexual assault, New Directions can help along the way. We offer an array of services to provide victims with the tools they need to become survivors.

Crisis Hotline

New Directions operates a 24-hour hotline — 740-397-HELP (4357) to respond to crisis calls from individuals who have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional assault.

Sexual Violence Advocacy

Rape crisis services are available immediately following a sexual assault as well as for incidents that occurred in the past. They include hospital, attorney and court accompaniment, individual advocacy, and a support group. Services are provided regardless of whether there was a report filed with law enforcement.

Sexual Violence Information

Legal Advocacy

Court advocacy is provided to persons who have survived domestic violence. The legal advocate accompanies survivors to arraignments, in municipal court, and then follows up with them to ensure that they have information and support throughout the legal process.

Domestic Violence Handbook

Domestic Violence Shelter

New Directions offers safe housing to adults and children fleeing domestic violence.

Individual Advocacy

Individual advocacy is offered to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including safety planning and support for decision making. Advocacy is provided both over the phone and in person.

Support Groups & Classes

New Directions offers groups and classes for survivors of violence.  Please contact New Directions for more information.

Information About Community Resources

Referrals are made to community agencies for help with financial assistance, housing, employment, mental health and drug and alcohol issues.

Pet Kennel

New Directions is uniquely equipped to welcome survivors’ cats and dogs during their stay at the shelter. Our kennel was made possible in part by grants from Red Rover and the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County. View our pet policy here.

Safety Plans

Not all of the points of these safety plans will apply to your situation. Choose the suggestions that make sense for you.

General Safety Plan

  • Identify a variety of ways to get out of your home safely and practice using your escape route.
  • Pack a bag with medications, important documents, money, keys, etc. and hide it. Consider changing the hiding spot if your abuser searches the home.
  • Arrange a signal with neighbors to let them know when you need help (turning on a porch light during the day, pulling down a particular window shade).
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, grandchildren, friends, or others to indicate that you need the police.
  • Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave (even if you don’t think you will need to).

Safety and Emotional Health

  • If you are considering returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
  • If you have to communicate with your abuser, do so in the safest way—by phone, mail, in the company of another person, etc.
  • Decide whom you can talk to freely and who can provide the support you need. Consider calling a domestic violence hotline or attending a support group.

Safety in Public

(at school, work, or social, recreational, and volunteer activities)

  • Decide whom to inform of your situation (school, office, or building security), and provide a picture of your abuser. Consider having your phone calls screened.
  • Devise a safety plan for when you are out in public. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or taxi. Use a variety of routes to go home and consider what you would do if something happened on your way home.

Safety and Protection Orders

  • Keep your protection order with you at all times. If it is lost or destroyed, you can get another copy from the Clerk of Courts.
  • Call the police if your abuser violates the protection order.
  • If your protection order is out of state, register it with your local police and/or clerk of courts.
  • Give copies to anyone with whom your children may stay (schools, day care, etc.).

Safety in Your Own Home

  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows. Consider increasing your outside lighting.
  • If you have children or other dependents living with you, discuss a safety plan for when you are not with them. Inform their school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick them up.
  • Inform neighbors and your landlord that your abuser no longer lives with you and they should call the police if they see your abuser near your home.

Safety in Explosive Incidents

  • Try to go to a room or area with access to an exit. Avoid rooms with no outside doors and those containing potential weapons (kitchen, bathroom, garage).
  • Try to stay in a room with a phone to call 911, a friend, or neighbor.
  • Inform law enforcement if weapons are in the home.
  • Visualize your escape route and be prepared to use it if a safe opportunity arises.
  • Use your code word or special signal to tell your children or neighbors to call 911.
  • Use your instinct and judgment to safely assess what to do next.

Safety When Leaving

  • Open a savings account in your own name at a different bank.
  • Consider direct deposit of your paycheck or benefit check. Begin to increase your independence.
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust.
  • Have your abuser’s social security number and license plate number with you to provide the police.
  • Bring medications, prescriptions, hearing aids, glasses, etc.
  • Determine who would let you stay with them or lend you money.
  • Keep the domestic violence program number with you and have some change at all times for emergency phone calls.
  • If you are 60 years or older, contact Adult Protection Services to learn about eligibility for public and private benefits and services.
  • Review your safety plan regularly to plan the safest way to leave.

What to Take if You Leave

  • Driver’s license or other form of ID
  • Your birth certificate and those of family members
  • Money, bank books, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgage payment book
  • Social Security card, work permit, green card, passport, insurance papers, medical records
  • Your abuser’s social security number and license plate number
  • Divorce and custody papers
  • Copies of your protection order
  • Lease, rental agreement, house deed
  • Keys to house, car, office
  • Medications, glasses, hearing aids, etc. for you and your children or other dependents
  • Personal items like address book, pictures, etc.
Emergency Exit