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Surviving Domestic Abuse: Immediate Steps to Take

Anyone who has ever been the victim of domestic abuse knows that it does not come in a one-size-fits-all. There are many types and levels of abuse ranging from physical violence to emotional abuse and everything in between. If you are struggling with an abuser and you can’t see your way out of the situation, here are some steps you can take NOW. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Healing can come later but for now, you need to get yourself out of an abusive relationship. That’s priority #1.

Don’t Interact

One of the worst things you can do is to interact with the abuser. Don’t try to verbally defend yourself and certainly don’t fight back. Stay as calm as possible, step away from the current attack, and either call 911 or the domestic abuse hotline in your area.

You can also call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800-799-7233 or send an SMS to 88788. Some victims feel it’s safer to send a message because the abuser won’t hear them talking. If you fear for your safety, your immediate need is to get help on your doorstep within moments.

Preventing Future Abuse

Once the abuser has been removed from the home or you are taken to a safe shelter, it’s time to contact an attorney for a couple of very important reasons. The first thing a domestic abuse attorney can help with is to get a restraining order from the court. The abuser will be met with serious consequences if they violate the restraining order, so much of the time they will obey the order.

The second thing a domestic abuse attorney can help with is in getting you the just compensation you deserve for any injuries or losses you sustained as a result of the abuse. No one has a right to lay a hand on you or torture you emotionally and if that abuse cost you in any way, you deserve compensation.

Seek Shelter

In a perfect world the abuser would heed the restraining order so you wouldn’t need to worry about further abuse. That said, in a perfect world there wouldn’t be any abuse in the first place! If you are afraid that the abuser will come back after being removed and served with a restraining order, you can seek shelter from one of several safe houses in your state.

Once it is settled and there is no danger of the abuser trying to step back into your life, you can return to your home if that’s what you desire. However, until you are certain you will no longer be in danger, don’t return to your home without a police escort if possible.

It’s Time for Therapy

Once you are confident that you are out of immediate danger, it’s time to seek therapy. Recovering from abuse can be a lifelong struggle, so start your sessions as soon as you are able. Attend all group therapy sessions, individual sessions and do what you can to realize you don’t own the problem. The abuser does. Don’t let guilt keep you down because you are not at fault. Once you are safe it’s time to begin healing and this is how it’s done.

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