Handling Domestic Violence Safely & Obtaining Legal Protection
These key steps will enable you to stay safe and secure when dealing with a domestic violence incident. One of the main ideas to keep in mind is to plan ahead before a future incident. Gathering extra clothes and storing them at another person's house, getting extra cash or a credit card for emergencies and making a copy of your car keys are all ways you can plan ahead before a future occurrence. This is crucial for your safety in case the aggressor creates an extreme situation where you cannot escape. Having this all planned in advance will allow you to get away from your aggressor quickly and safely and get to a safe place to then call the police. Make sure you do not wait or hesitate to call the police. Often domestic violence victims feel that they can handle or manage their abuser. That maybe this situation was out-of-character and will not happen again and that they can "fix it" or help "heal" their abuser. However, if this has become a pattern in your relationship, chances are that this kind of confrontation will occur again. If the person who is your aggressor has become extremely frightening or threatening, it is best to try and obtain a restraining order.
Speak to the police officer for an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). An EPO can be given 24/7, even on nights and weekends, and it will give you protection for up to five days. Once you are safe, you can then speak to a restraining order attorney to achieve a temporary restraining order for a longer amount of time, or a final restraining order (FRO) which is a more permanent measure. Going through domestic violence is a traumatic situation for the victim and for any children who may be witness to the act. Both the victim and any children should receive help through domestic violence shelters and domestic violence therapists if extreme mental trauma, like post traumatic stress disorder, is seen. The main thing is to make sure you, and any children, remain safe and secure and receive any help that is needed.