Domestic violence is not a rare occurrence in America, in fact, it’s likely that you know someone who has been impacted by it. Despite our best efforts, domestic abuse is on the rise, especially now that people are spending more time at home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you or someone you love is the target of domestic violence, you might be wondering what you can do to stop it from happening again. We’re here to offer you the answers to these questions and more.
Read on for some important domestic violence prevention tips and to learn what to do if you find yourself in that situation.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is actually a legal term with a very specific definition. This is important to know because law enforcement cannot file charges of domestic violence against someone whose acts do not fit the definition.
Domestic violence is generally defined as a repeated pattern of behavior in which one partner attempts to gain power over the other through acts of abuse. This can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, and economic abuse. In some instances, it can include threats of abuse.
Domestic violence occurs between two partners who share a living space, regardless of marital status, or who have a child together. Many states require that two people live together in order to charge someone with domestic violence.
If you do not live together, that doesn’t mean you do not have protection against an abusive partner. Anything that falls outside of the scope of domestic violence is known as intimate partner violence (IPV). IPV has the same warning signs and types of behavior, it just applies to people who do not live together.
Signs That You Might Be in an Abusive Relationship
There are many signs that you or a loved one might be in an abusive relationship, and they all share a central theme: the element of control.
The most obvious sign of an abusive relationship is actual physical abuse or threats of violence. Abusers tend to have a jealous streak and attempt to control everything their partner does. They might even limit access to transportation and money.
It is not always so clear-cut, however.
You might be afraid of talking with your partner about a certain topic because you know it’ll make him or her angry. Your partner might be seeking to isolate you from your friends and family. You might also feel like you’re not good enough or you deserve to feel the way you feel about yourself.
Abusers can be anyone, male or female, and it happens in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
Domestic Violence Prevention Tips
If you’re seeing the beginning signs of domestic violence in your relationship or that of a loved one, you might be wondering what you can do to stop it.
The best way to stop domestic violence is for it to never start. This means learning about what constitutes a healthy and loving relationship.
If your partner is showing signs of domestic violence, but you don’t want to leave, you need to seek the help of a skilled professional. It is possible that your partner doesn’t understand that what they are doing is abusive, but talking to an abuser about their abuse can put you at risk. Make plans to do it in a safe space and with a professional in case it goes awry.
If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, it might have come as a surprise to you. The first step is to contact a domestic violence attorney to deal with the charges. The next step is to seek help to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
What Options Do You Have to Get Out?
Many people who face domestic violence cannot afford to stay in a relationship with their abuser. In these instances, they need to make the decision to leave and carry it out by following these steps.
Make a Plan
Making the decision to leave is difficult, but actually getting out can be quite complicated. In fact, the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when a person tries to leave. This means you need to make a plan to get out.
Your first step in this plan to speak with people you trust. Tell them when you’re planning to leave so they can make sure you get out safely. Pack up some bags with your things and remove them to a safe place long before you walk out that door.
Finally, if you don’t have anywhere to go, consider moving to a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse.
Seek a Protective Order
Once you’ve gotten out of the house, consider contacting local authorities in order to obtain a protective order. Many jurisdictions offer emergency protective orders for a certain period of time before they allow abuse survivors to get a standard one.
Discuss your options with law enforcement.
File for Divorce
When you feel comfortable, you can file for divorce. If you live in a state that has fault-based divorces, you may be able to claim domestic abuse as a reason for filing.
If you cannot afford a divorce attorney, look into local legal aid societies or shelters to see how they can help you navigate the legal process.
Don’t Look Back
Your final step in getting out of an abusive relationship is to not look back. This is difficult for people who share children with their partners or whose relationship was long-lived. It’s important to keep in mind that if they were abusive at one time, it is likely that they will return to their old habits.
Are You Dealing with an Abusive Relationship?
Domestic violence prevention is the first step to reducing the impact of intimate partner violence in the United States.
If you find that you or your loved ones have been the target of domestic violence, then it’s important to follow these steps to make sure that it doesn’t continue to escalate. Finally, don’t be afraid to get out and not look back. It might just save your life.
Are you looking for more information about family life or relationships? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the rest of our blog for everything you need to know!