Woman with a domesic violence checklist

What To Do If You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects people all over the world. Men and women alike can be subject to abuse from family members and significant others. It can be extremely difficult to know the best course of action. In this post, we will discuss a few things to remember, as well as some steps you should take if you are faced with domestic violence.

Even for a victim, recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship can be hard since abuse comes in many forms.

Here are a few tips to remember as you evaluate and navigate domestic violence:

  1. You are not at fault: Many victims of domestic violence victims end up blaming themselves. Even if they believe the other person is at fault, they may believe the fault is shared. However, no matter the situation, you cannot blame yourself if someone abuses you. You do not deserve to be abused. You cannot blame yourself for someone else lashing out in anger.
  2. Take their actions seriously: When faced with abuse, many people try to write it off. If you love a person, it can be tempting to try to excuse their actions. However, abuse is never okay. No matter how difficult the other person’s situation is, they have no right to abuse you. No matter how much alcohol they drank, abusing you is still terribly wrong. Don’t make excuses for the other person; take their actions seriously.
  3. There are different types of abuse: When people think about domestic abuse, physical violence always comes to mind first. Of course, physical violence is very serious, but it is not the only type of domestic abuse. Keep an eye out for verbal, emotional, mental, and even financial abuse as well. These types of abuse do not leave bruises or scars and are harder to recognize, but they can still be damaging and should be taken seriously. If a significant other or family member is abusing you verbally and making you feel worthless, you should get help. If someone is withholding access to the family finances or a credit card, that is not acceptable. Be aware of the different types of abuse you could be subject to.

If you believe that you may be in an abusive relationship or that you are the victim of domestic violence, here are some actions you should take:

Life Saving Actions You Should Take

  1. Tell someone trustworthy: Many victims of abuse don’t want to tell others about the abuse, and this is often because of threats. They don’t know what to do, so they isolate themself and keep it as a secret, but that is the worst possible response. Whether you make a phone call to a domestic violence hotline or talk to a friend or family member, it is important that you talk to someone trustworthy. Talking about the situation with someone else will help you see how very real the abuse is and potential ways for you to respond. If you do choose to leave the relationship, it is important that you have support as you try to re-establish yourself.
  2. Get medical help: If you are injured from physical abuse, you should get medical attention. Go visit a doctor, or call 911 if you require immediate medical attention. You are not required to disclose where the injuries came from, but you probably should. This will help the doctors treat you and help your case against the person who hurt you. Be sure to carefully document any injuries they cause you so that you can use that information in court.
  3. Take action: It is important that you don’t allow the abuse to continue. If you are the one being abused, then you need to get out of the situation to ensure your own safety. If you have children who are being abused, it is essential that you get them out of the abusers’ hands. They need a safe place to come home to, so don’t let them stay in the abuser’s custody. File for a protective order so that the abuser won’t be allowed to see you or the children for a time. If it becomes extremely bad, file for permanent sole custody so that they cannot continue abusing them. Whatever action you take, it is in your best interest to change the situation to keep you and your children safe.

For a victim of domestic violence, the legal approach can be complicated. If you are a domestic violence victim, it is important to have an experienced attorney who can help you determine you navigate the situation. Our team at West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman has the experience to help you determine your approach when faced with an abusive situation. Contact us now at (520) 790-7337 or browse our website to learn more.

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