…is one of the most serious problems in our society today.
…is widespread throughout social class, ethnic origin and/or age groups and includes child, spouse and elder abuse.
…can go unrecognized.
…can result in serious injury or death.
Did you know that…
- Domestic violence occurs in families of all races, religions, economic and social backgrounds.
- An estimated 60% of families experience violence in their own homes.
- Domestic violence is the single major cause of injury to women in this country.
- Three to four million American women are battered every year.
- Once violence begins, it tends to increase over time and become more severe.
- Children who witness violence are at higher risk for becoming the next generation of victims and abusers, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, running away as teenagers and exhibiting school performance problems.
Cycle of Violence
Phase 1: Increased tension, anger, blaming, and arguing.
Phase 2: Battering – hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, use of weapons. Sexual Abuse. Verbal threats and abuse.
Phase 3: Calm stage (this usually decreases or disappears over time). The abuser may deny violence: say he was drunk, say he’s sorry, and promise it will never happen again.
Be Prepared – Make a Safety Plan
Safety During an Explosive Incident
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, or anywhere else where weapons might be available.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative’s or friend’s home in order to leave quickly.
- Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a codeword to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to).
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
Always remember: You do not deserve to be threatened!!
Safety when preparing to leave
- Open a savings account and or a credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
- Get your own post office box. You can privately receive checks and letters to begin your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Keep the shelter or hotline phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
Safety in your home
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
- Inform your children’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children.
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him near your home.
Safety with a Protection Order
- Keep your protective order on you at all times. Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
- Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
- Inform family, friends, neighbors, and your physician or health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.
Safety on the Job and in Public
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a picture of your batterer if possible.
- Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID, or a trusted friend or relative screen your calls if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train and wait with you until you are safely on your way. When going to work or home, vary your route of travel if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while traveling.
Your Safety and Emotional Health
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Decide who you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.
- Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group for at least 2 weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.