Five Actions to Take Now if Your Spouse or Partner Is Abusive
In every relationship, there are likely to be times when you and your partner fight. Within a few hours or days, the two of you make-up and life goes on as normal. Domestic violence is different. Abuse is unpredictable and you never know how far it will go. The one thing that is certain is it generally gets worse over time. Doing nothing and hoping things will change is not an option. For your own safety and that of your children, you need to take action. The problem is you may not be sure where to start. The following details five specific steps you can take to protect yourself now.
- Get somewhere safe.
Do not underestimate domestic violence. Regardless of whether you are dealing with physical abuse or put-downs and threats, you are in danger. According to a report titled ‘Faces of Fatality’ by the Florida Attorney General’s Office, close to 100 people are killed each year by their spouse or domestic partner. In more than half of these cases, non-violent episodes of abuse had occurred previously in the relationship. Your top priority is ensuring your safety. Stay with a friend, relative, or in a domestic violence shelter while you determine what your next steps need to be.
- Report it to the police.
Under the Florida Statutes, domestic violence includes any type of assault, attempted assault or battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, stalking, or other criminal behavior committed against a spouse, domestic partner, or other family members. Making threats against you or your family and doing damage to property are criminal acts as well. Report these incidents to local law enforcement immediately.
- Document what is happening.
If your relationship shows signs of domestic violence, document it carefully. Keep detailed notes about each outburst and any aggressive or demeaning acts. Take photos of any injuries you suffer and any property damages that occur. Keep copies of letters, emails, texts, or social media posts that may support your claims. Document other details as well, such as where the person works and their driver’s license and vehicle tag numbers.
- Get support.
Living with an abuser makes you feel isolated and alone. You are likely reluctant to tell friends or family what is going on in the relationship. You may have trouble grasping it yourself. Getting support can help you come to terms with the situation. The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) offers a hotline as well as local counseling centers. Services are provided on a confidential basis.
- Consult with an attorney.
There are legal options for dealing with domestic abuse. This includes obtaining an injunction for protection against domestic violence or restraining order. This can entitle you to spousal and child support, as well as exclusive rights to children from the relationship.
Let Us Help You Today
Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney Vanessa L. Prieto provides the trusted guidance you need to protect yourself against further abuse. Call or contact our office online and request a confidential consultation today.