Getting out of an Abusive Relationship
6 steps to take for getting out of an abusive relationship
If you are considering getting out of an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control reports that domestic violence and intimate partner violence has a profound effect on the well-being of people across the United States. It’s considered a public health issue that affects millions of people in the U.S. each year. In Illinois alone, 42 percent of women and 26 percent of men in the state have experienced intimate partner violence. When it’s time to get out of a relationship in which you’re being abused, it’s important to keep yourself and your children safe. Follow these 6 steps to get out. However, if you are in an emergency, contact 911 for immediate help.
Make an Escape Plan
Be sure to have a plan in place for when you need to leave at a moment’s notice. If your partner is violent, keep your car fueled, the driver’s side door unlocked, and know where your keys are located. Keep an emergency cash out of an account your partner can access so you have spending money. Keep important documents at a friend’s house or other safe location. And keep a bag packed at a friend’s house that you trust so you have anything you may need to stay safe. Be sure to take extra precautions that ensures your safety, as well as the safety of your kids if you have any.
Memorize Emergency Contacts
If your partner tracks your phone calls, make sure you know who your emergency contacts are. Memorize their numbers or write them down on paper and store them at a safe location. You may want to consider having a backup phone that your partner can’t access as well. Create a list that includes emergency and non-emergency services, your doctors, and any other phone numbers you may need to know who can help you once you’ve escaped. Make sure you’ve stored them in a location where they are easily accessible when you are ready to leave. Keep them updated if anything changes so the information is always accurate, too.
Protect Your Privacy
It’s important to protect your privacy when you’re getting out of an abusive relationship. Technology can be a way for abusers to track your information and to keep tabs on your every move. Do you share connected devices, such as phones, computers, and laptops? You may want to work with an IT professional to add layers of privacy so your partner can’t find where you are. Take a break from social media, too, so you can’t be found right after you leave so you remain safe.
Contact a Local Domestic Violence Program
When you’re ready to leave, get in touch with a local domestic violence center for help. Many of these groups offer support services that can help you significantly. These services include safe housing, children’s services, financial assistance, and more. A domestic violence program will give you a support system that provides empowerment and a sense of community. These programs give survivors the tools to get out of dangerous situations and reclaim their lives.
Get Legal Help
When you’re getting out of an abusive relationship, you’ll want to make sure you have the legal help you need on your side. Whether you’re in need of a restraining order or a divorce, or possibly even both, you’ll need an experienced lawyer who can protect you from any further abuse. Your lawyer should be well versed in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act so you can stay protected and ensure the best outcome for your case.
Take Steps to Heal
Make a plan to get help from a therapist moving forward. Domestic violence is traumatic for everyone involved. Those who have experienced it may struggle with depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, or worse. Ask your domestic violence shelter for help identifying a therapist who is trained to care for this type of trauma. The thing to remember is you deserve to be in a healthy relationship and to heal from abuse, and it takes work and help to get there.
Borsberry Law is Here to Help
At Borsberry Law, we know how important it is to act quickly when you’re in an abusive situation. When you need us, give us a call for a free consultation at 309-637-9000. We also offer a 24-hour chat feature on our website, so when you’re safe from your partner, you can rest assured you can talk with us at any time. When you’re ready, reach out. We’re ready to work for you.