The numbers are absolutely startling on just how many homes are affected by domestic violence across America every single day. Close to nearly 20 people every minute throughout the country are having their world turned upside down by their abuser. That’s 12 million Americans that are being abused by a loved one.
Knowing what to do and how to remain safe throughout this scary situation can be the difference between life and death for someone. If a domestic violence situation were to ever happen to you, here’s how you could be safe and have the proper precautions.
Domestic Disputes: When to Call Police
Believe it or not, there are wrong times to call the police during an argument. It’s important to know the appropriate circumstances of when to call the police during a domestic dispute.
- If a victim is injured by physical abuse that’s caused by a violent partner.
- When you are concerned and feel that you or your children’s wellbeing is at risk.
- When the abuser threatens to hurt you or harm your children.
- The Abuser threatens to hurt themselves.
For any of these situations, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and dial 911.
Domestic violence: What Can I Do To Be Safe?
After the police have arrived, try not to leave out any important details when reporting domestic violence. Tell the police everything that the abuser did to you that caused you to have to make the call. These are things not to leave out. You can also ask the police to interview you separately from the abusive person.
- Show the police where you were hit and how many times (some marks may not show up immediately. If the marks show up after the police have left, be sure to take pictures that can be used in court.
- Tell the police about any firearms or weapons the person may own
- If there was any damage done to the property
Have a Personal Protection Order in Place
By having a protection order/restraining order in place, your partner can be legally kept at a safer distance away from you and your children. Be sure to keep a copy on you and your children, especially after recently leaving that abuser.
You can pick up an application for a protection order at courthouses, police stations and women’s shelters. Even with a PPO in place, it’s still important to have a safety plan in place.
Tips on Domestic Violence
When it comes to domestic violence and what you can do to be safe, make sure you follow a few of these tips!
Have a Safety Plan in Place
Your safety cannot be stressed enough. Having a safety plan could make a huge difference. Check out these important tips that can help keep you safer:
While you are still living with the abuser
- Go over easy ways to get out of the house
- Make sure your kids know where important phone numbers are at
- Alert your neighbors of what’s going on and for them to call the police if they hear violence
- Make sure that weapons are locked up, or find ways to get them out of the house
- Don’t run to your children or the abuser may hurt them as well
- Have a bag of belongings packed and in an easy-to-get-to location but well-hidden
- Think about excuses that you could get out of the house (going to the store, taking out the trash).
When Thinking about leaving the abuser
- Have options where you can go (Have a few in mind)
- Have a bank account or credit card put in your name
- Get a new cell phone
- Change the locks, get a security system and outside lights
- Think of ways to get your children to safety without being obvious
- You can also think of excuses on how to get out of the house as mentioned earlier
After you have left the abuser
- Make sure your children’s school and care providers are aware of who can pick them up.
- Don’t go to places your abuser knows that you go to often (stores, restaurants, businesses).
- Be sure to let friends, family, and neighbors know that the abuser is no longer allowed to come around.
- Get a PPO against the abuser.
- Always be ready to dial 911.
- Get emotional help and support from friends and family.
When physical abuse is unavoidable
If you’re ever in the situation where your abuser is physically hitting you and there’s no stopping it, the best thing to do is to get as low to the ground as possible.
By curling up and covering your head and your face with your arms with your knees in front of you, your abuser’s blows will be diminished.
Get to a Safe Place: Reporting Domestic Violence
You and your children are already going through enough. It’s certainly not fair that you can’t stay in the comfort of your own home. But it may be in your best interest not to stay at home for a while.
Staying at a family or friend’s house may also not be a safe idea if the abuser knows where they live. But if you know of someone that can take you in that your partner does not know about, that is one alternative.
If you have nowhere to turn, the Domestic Violence Hotline can get you and your family situated in a Safe Haven or emergency housing, for the meantime. It may not be home, but it’s a place that your family can feel safe.
Seek Medical Attention
Oftentimes victims don’t realize just how badly they’ve been injured after a domestic violence situation because of the shock. It may only seem minor to you, but it could be much more serious. If you happen to be pregnant and were struck in the stomach region, tell your doctor. Unborn children can often be hurt during domestic violence.
Being hit in the head is just as serious, even if you don’t see any physical damage. Closed-head injuries can kill, or cause lasting cognitive impairment. If you are experiencing any of the following, get medical help immediately.
- Memory Loss
- Long-lasting headaches
- Blurry vision
- Throwing up
Domestic Violence Hotline
If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence, don’t stay silent about it. It’s never okay when this type of behavior is taking place and it’s not your fault. Don’t hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or for people who are deaf, or hard at hearing call 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).