Family Protection: What to do if you or your Kids are the Victims of Domestic Violence

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you’re not alone. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience abuse from their partner, and that 1 in 15 children will witness domestic abuse in their own homes.

As a victim, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Leaving a violent situation is frightening, for both you and your children, but it can be done. Below, learn more about ways to protect yourself and your children if you find yourself in a violent situation.

Family Protection What to do if you or your Kids are the Victims of Domestic Violence

Recognize the Abuse

If you’re the victim of intimate partner violence, it’s often difficult to recognize signs of abuse. If you’ve been in this situation for years, you might want to excuse your attacker, or you may even blame yourself for the violence. If you have a hard time identifying or recognizing abuse, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your partner often prevent you or your kids from leaving the house?
  • Does your partner prevent you from visiting friends or family?
  • Does your partner tell you you’re worthless, disparage your opinions, and disregard your feelings?
  • Are you too afraid of your partner to express your feelings or opinions?
  • Does your partner threaten violence, even if he or she doesn’t carry it out?

Remember that abuse can come in many forms. Sexual, emotional, physical, and verbal abuse are all traumatic types of abuse that take a toll on their victims. You and your children deserve to leave without fear of any of these types of abuse.

Reach Out for Help

Once you’ve recognized the abuse, you might think about leaving the situation to protect yourself and your kids. However, especially if your partner has alienated you from friends and family members, you might not know how to leave safely. Plus, your partner could threaten you with further violence if you attempt to leave, which makes you frightened to act on your own.

However, remember that abuse tends to escalate over time. You might tell yourself you can put up with it for now, or that your children deserve to have two parents in the home, but it’s often better for you and them in the long run if you leave now.

If you’re not sure where to start, contact a local shelter. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for advice or to learn about shelters in your area. If you’re afraid your partner monitors your computer use, call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Protect Yourself Legally

You have the right to live without fear of violence, which means you have the right to legal recourse that protects you and your kids from your violent partner. Once you’ve left a violent situation—or if you’re in the middle of one but unsure how to escape—contact a lawyer (Source: Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers, Buford and Gonzalez). He or she can explain your rights, help you file legal charges, and live a life without fear.

No matter your situation, you and your kids deserve protection from violence. Follow the steps above to safeguard your family, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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