First of all, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or go to their website at http://www.ndvh.org. They offer support, information, and referral to local domestic violence programs and are available 24/7. Use the computers at the library and a phone that the abuser doesn’t have access to make inquires about shelters, programs, laws, etc. They will help you work through the steps below.
- Make a plan. Do not just break up with the person or try to throw them out of the house or even leave yourself – without a plan.
- Pick one person to tell your plan to, someone who does not live with you. Let them know under what circumstances they should call the police.
- Prepare. Pack a bag with a few changes of clothes, toiletries, money, identification, any official papers – birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, etc. And keep this bag outside the home, in a place that is accessible to you but not the abuser.
- File all necessary paperwork with your children’s schools, your jobs, and the police. So that everyone knows to be on the look out for the abuser.
- Disentangle your life from the abuser. This can mean divorce or simply cutting off contact with them.
- Seek counseling. What you’ve done is enact a major life change. You will need time to adjust. You will need someone to help you work through your feelings. Getting counseling makes it more likely that you will succeed.
Remember this is not your fault. You did not deserve this and you are responding to their actions. Leaving is YOUR RIGHT. Protecting yourself and your loved ones is YOUR RIGHT.
- Dealing with Domestic Violence (blogs.lawyers.com)
- Domestic Violence Shelters Insist on Confidentiality (wsaz.com)
- Spotting the Signs of Emotional Abuse (everydayhealth.com)
- The Signs of Domestic Violence (everydayhealth.com)