Many incidents of
domestic violence, especially those carried out by first-time offenders of this crime, occur
with little to no warning. A heated argument is often the only precursor
to the danger that can result in the physical, sexual, or psychological
harm of someone. In other instances, domestic violence occurs regularly,
as it has become an unfortunate and abusive part of a family’s or
No matter the exact circumstances, domestic violence is a problem that
can affect anyone. In order to stay safe and out of harm’s way,
there are some basic safety tips, hints, and plans that everyone should
know, just in case they encounter a situation that could devolve or explode
into domestic violence.
Safety tips to remember if you realize a heated argument could turn dangerous:
- If the argument is not completely out of hand, request a 30 minute breather
period in separate rooms to cool off.
- Keep arguments out of any rooms with potential weapons and no alternative
exits, especially if you know the other individual has a violent past.
- Prepack a spare overnight bag and store in a secret place for when you
have to flee in a hurry. Consider keeping enough cash within it for a
- Talk to a trusted neighbor about what they should do if they hear a domestic
violence incident unfolding, including calling the police if they hear
you shout a code word. Share this same code word with other family members
to use in an argument to tip them off before violence erupts.
Safety tips to use when you know you need to leave your house to protect yourself:
- Know the locations of hotels, motels, and the homes of any trusted friends
ahead of time. Never share these locations with the person you suspect
could try to harm you. When possible, choose the last one you think they
would check, or even drive to a different town.
Most of the worst domestic violence incidents occur the same day someone
tries to leave their abuser. If you must leave, do it
fast and with confidence to get away. Head to the police station or flag down
a police officer if you think you are being followed.
- Never leave your children alone with the abusive individual, as they could
feasibly turn on the defenseless youngsters as soon as you are gone.
- Open a separate and secretive savings account at your bank to store money
in that is reserved for emergencies, such as leaving town for a while
to escape an abuser.
- Shut off GPS tracking on your cellphone and other mobile devices when you
leave, as these can be tracked easily with websites and apps. Keep a spare
cellphone charger in your own car.
Safety tips when you have a Restraining Order:
Always carry a copy of your
restraining order on your person and also put additional copies in important locations,
like your workplace and in your vehicle. Do not be afraid to use the restraining
order. Call the police as soon as the person targeted by the order violates it.
- Consider ways to improve the security of your home. Changing locks on all
doors and windows immediately is highly recommended. You can also invest
in a security system, get a new home and cell number, and add the number
of lights on the outside of your house.
- If your abuser is no longer living with you or subject to a restraining
order, tell your neighbors or landlord. Notify them to call the police
if they see the person who has harmed you or your family near your property.
- Let schools and daycares know the person who has committed domestic violence
is no longer authorized to retrieve your children. Give the school or
daycare facility a copy of the Restraining Order.
- Talk to your children about how they can quickly escape and where to go
if they fear they will be abused as well. You might wish to choose a trusted
neighbor’s house as a safe haven but be sure to tell your children
not to mention this plan at all to the abuser.
- You may also need to tell some people at your workplace about the domestic
violence incidents. In particular, building security should know what
your abuser looks like. It can also be helpful to have your boss screen
any incoming calls for you, and to arrange for someone to escort you to
your car at the end of your shift.
Helpful hints for maintaining emotional stability to counteract the emotional
damage caused by domestic violence:
- Read books or watch shows and movies that make you feel better and encourage
- Look up local support groups to see if any work with your schedule. People
often forge new and protective friendships in such groups, as everyone
there has been in similar harrowing situations. Church and local civic
organizations often have support groups in English and other languages.
- Try to stay positive in all things. Everyone has struggles and everyone
deserves to be treated with respect and love.
- Do not talk to your abuser at all without first discussing thoroughly other
options or how the conversation could go with a trusted loved one. There
is usually no safe way to try to rekindle a relationship with an abuser.
If you have children with the abuser and must communicate about the minor
child to the other parent, request that the other parent and yourself
TalkingParents.com. Parents can communicate exclusively through this Free service. Parents
do not need each other's telephone numbers, email addresses, or any
other actual contact information to communicate through TalkingParents.com.
Remember: Domestic violence can hurt anyone: Men, women, teenagers, elders, people
in same-sex relationships, and so on. If you are being abused emotionally,
physically, or sexually and think you need help, please seek help as soon
as you can. There is no shame in admitting you need help.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
When you are safe, sound, and well away from your abuser, you can dial
323.212.5599 to connect with Castellanos & Associates, APLC and our Los Angeles
family law attorneys. We can help you file for a protection order and begin other
family law processes to keep you separated and protected from your abuser. You can
contact us online to request a
free consultation to learn more about your rights as someone who has been wrongfully hurt
through domestic violence.