Domestic violence is a confrontation between members of the same family or household that involves threats, physical harm, sexual assault, and/or other forms of physical or psychological intimidation.
Family or household members include:
- Those in a current or former dating relationship
- People related by blood or marriage
- Parents and children (biological or legal)
Domestic violence can occasionally be a one-time use of force. But patterns usually form, with the aim of the violence being the intimidation or humiliation of the victim. Sometimes there is a series of acts that might appear minor on their own, but add up to an abusive pattern.
If you are a victim of domestic violence,it’s critical that you protect yourself. Here are several recommended steps:
- Call 911 and report the assault. When the police arrive, obtain a copy of the report or incident number. Seek medical attention if you are injured. Make sure that all bodily injuries are photographed and documented.
- Tell a trusted friend or family member about the abuse. If necessary, speak to the staff members of victim support agencies. You do not need to face this terrifying situation alone.
- Have a safety plan in place that will enable you and your children (if you have any) to leave quickly if your abuser becomes violent. A friend, family member, or professional can help you put together a safety plan and if necessary help you find a safe place for you to stay.
- File for a Restraining Order that will require your abuser to stay away from you. You will have to provide a current and accurate address for the abuser so that the Order may be served on him or her. Keep your copy with you at all times.
Please remember: If you are a victim of abuse, you are not alone. It’s also not your fault: no one deserves to live in fear for his or her life. You have the right to be safe, and there are agencies out there that will help you get away and guide you through the process. Please contact us today if you’d like further assistance!