According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men suffer physical violence by their partner at some point in their life. If you are in a domestic violence situation, know that you are not alone.
There are steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
1. Develop a Safety Plan
This plan should include a list of safe places to go, people to call, and what to do if your abuser finds you. Practice this plan with your children, so they know what to do if they are ever in danger.
2. Estimate How Violent Your Abuser Might Get
Does he or she usually just shout? Or does the violence usually escalate to hitting, kicking, or using a weapon?
The more severe the violence has been in the past, the more likely it is to happen again. So don’t ignore these important signs before things get worse.
3. Be Careful What You Say
Abusive partners often monitor their victim’s calls, texts, and emails. Sometimes they even put GPS trackers on their victim’s phones or cars.
So be careful about what information you share electronically, and avoid talking about sensitive topics when your abuser is around.
4. Keep Important Phone Numbers Handy
Put them in your purse, wallet, or car so you can easily access them if you need to leave quickly or call for help.
These numbers should include the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE), local domestic violence shelters or resource centers, the police department (911), and the domestic violence lawyer.
5. Protect Any Money That You Have Access To
Open up a separate bank account if possible so that your abusive partner does not have control over it; put money away in hiding spots at home; start saving up money so that you have some financial security if you need to leave quickly; etc.).
6. Plan Ahead for Worst Case Scenarios
Create an emergency packing list of items that you would need if you had to leave quickly (clothes for yourself and your children for a few days, medicine/prescriptions, diapers/formula if applicable).
Pack these items ahead of time and keep them hidden in a safe place (at a friend or family member’s house, at work, etc.) so that they are readily available if needed.
7. Get Involved in Activism or Join a Support Group
There are many organizations that work to end domestic violence, such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or your local DV shelter or hotlines.
Getting involved in their work can help raise awareness about this issue and make sure that victims have the resources they need.
Additionally, joining a support group for survivors of domestic violence can provide emotional support and practical advice from people who have been through similar situations.
Domestic violence is a serious issue that requires careful planning and preparation. If you are in an abusive relationship, please remember that there are people and resources available to help you. You are not alone.
Click here if you need help from a domestic violence lawyer!