While leaving an abusive or violent relationship is always sound advice, it’s important to understand that the most dangerous time in these volatile relationships is when the victim leaves or attempts to leave. In fact, in domestic violence cases, over seventy percent of serious injuries and homicides occur after the victim leaves the relationship. Because of this, it’s important to understand how to keep yourself safe after or if you are in the process of planning to leave an abusive relationship.
Get Legal Advice
It’s a good idea to work with a domestic abuse attorney to see how you can get help with leaving an abusive relationship. A good attorney will understand the need to be discreet if you are still in the relationship, and provide you with advice, resources, and support for getting out safely and keeping yourself safe after you leave. They can also provide you with further legal advice if you are in a situation where this will be needed, such as if you are married to, have children with, or own a home with your abuser.
Consider Going to a Shelter
A domestic violence shelter can be an ideal choice for those who are feeling a violent relationship. These shelters are available to provide safety to victims and help you get on your feet. Along with this, they will provide a range of resources, support, and other services to make the process easier for you.
Keep Your Information Private
If you are worried about your abuser finding you, then it’s a good idea to take as many steps as possible to keep your new address confidential. You may want to rent a property that has the utilities included, for example. You can go through your state to keep your address confidential, ensure that your address is not included on your voter registration, and consider getting a P.O. Box for mail.
Secure Your New Property
A good lawyer or a domestic violence shelter will be able to help you with securing your new home as much as possible. Consider adding new window and door locks, smoke detectors and an alarm system to make the home as safe and secure as possible. You may want to consider getting cameras, or a simple system such as a video doorbell so that you have more awareness as to who is visiting your home.
Obtain a Protection Order
You can get a protection order that legally prevents your abuser from coming into contact with you or visiting your home. A good domestic abuse attorney can help you with getting this and putting it into practice. Keep a copy of the protection order on you at all times. It’s a good idea to give a copy to others in your life, such as your workplace and children’s school.
While leaving an abusive relationship is the first step in healing from the experience and getting your life back, it can also be a very dangerous time. Since the abuse often escalates after leaving, it’s important to have support and plans in place to protect yourself.