Negotiating Plea Deals

Are You In Fear For Your Safety? What To Do If You're The Victim Of Domestic Violence

by Flenn Lane

If you're new to this country, you might not realize that you have rights, especially when it comes to domestic abuse. Many new citizens believe that they have to put up with the abuse, or risk their citizenship status. That is simply not the case. If you're the victim of domestic abuse, you need to get out. Help is available for you. Here are four steps you need to take if you're the victim of domestic violence.

Recognize the Signs of Abuse

When you think about domestic violence, you might think of just physical abuse. However, domestic violence doesn't only involve physical abuse—although physical abuse is a big part of it. It also involves verbal, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. It's important for you to understand the types of abuse so that you can get help. If your spouse or partner is isolating you from friends and family; preventing you from having access to money; or mistreating you verbally, emotionally, or psychologically, it's time to get help.

Find One Person You Can Trust

One thing that abusers often do is isolate their victims from friends and family. They do this so they can make it harder for their victims to find help. If you're the victim of domestic violence, you need to find that one person you can trust, whether it's a nearby neighbor, co-worker, or even one of your child's teachers. You're going to need that person to help you get out from the situation you're in.

Start Planning Your Escape

Once you realize that you're the victim of domestic violence, you need to start planning your escape. Begin by putting together go-bags. These bags should contain all the things you'll need when you leave, including your identification, insurance cards, a change of clothing, and a small amount of cash. If you're afraid to store those items in your home, make arrangements to store them with the person you've designated as your trusted friend. Be sure that your escape preparations include finding the location of a nearby domestic violence shelter. The domestic violence shelter will be able to give you the assistance and protection you need once you leave.

Don't Wait If You Can't

If you're the victim of domestic violence, and the violence is escalating, don't wait to make your escape plans. Get out as soon as you can, even if that means you leave with only the clothes you're wearing. Make your way to the domestic violence shelter and file a police report as soon as you get there. If you've been threatened with physical violence, don't share your location with friends and family until you know you're safe. If you have children, be sure to bring them with you, even if you've never seen violence against them. The violence may begin once your abuser knows you've left.