What can I do to protect myself from domestic violence?
If you live with someone who abuses you, you need to protect yourself for the long term. If someone is stalking you, and you have a feeling that you might get hurt, trust your instincts and protect yourself.
You are in extra danger if your abuser or stalker talks about murder or suicide. You are also in particular danger if you are thinking of leaving the relationship. Because of the risk of being seriously hurt or killed when leaving an abusive relationship, it is important to develop a safe plan for departure.
- Take all threats seriously.
- Contact a domestic violence hotline to plan for your safe future. People who are staffing the phones or email can advise you on how to protect yourself, refer you to other services and shelters, and inform you about local laws and restraining orders.
- Develop a safety plan that specifies who will be with you when you need companionship and protection. Also plan for safety in your workplace or at your school.
- Call people who are willing to help you and tell them how they can help to protect you now and in the future.
- If you have been abused in front of others, ask witnesses to write down what they saw.
- Contact the police if your abuser has broken a law, or even if you think they might have broken a law. (Assaulting you, stealing or destroying your property is a crime.)
- Consider getting a restraining order or protective order to keep your spouse or intimate partner away from you.
- Learn self-defense to protect yourself.