Saturday, August 27, 2011

Domestic Violence- Safety Planning

***If you are in danger, please use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have access too***

Domestic Violence happens way too often! One in four women will experience domestic violence (physical, sexual, emotional, or economical) in her life. 15% of Domestic Violence Victims are men.

The homicide rate for Domestic Violence is too high. These deaths are more likely to happen as the victim is leaving, or has left, and the perpetrator knows he/she is losing the control they have worked so hard to maintain.

Domestic Violence is not just an isolated event. Isolated events can be scary! Domestic Violence is repeated efforts by an Intimate Partner to exert and maintain control in whatever way is necessary. WHATEVER way can mean a lot of things, but the abuser is fully aware of what he/she is doing.  It is not a momentary lapse of judgment or because someone had one too many alcoholic beverages.  There are many excuses, but remember, they are just excuses!  No one has any right to abuse anyone under any circumstance!

Because Domestic Violence is not an isolated event, but repeated, it is necessary to develop a safety plan whether someone plans to stay or leave. There are professionals that are available to help or websites that can give some basic information.

If a person plans on staying with the abuser for one of a million reasons that people stay (and these are valid reasons) it is still a good idea to talk to a professional. The counselor/advocate will listen, will ask what has worked and what hasn't worked, and will identify different ways to stay safe and try to help develop a support system for when the abuse happens again.

If a person plans on leaving, it is important to talk to an advocate before leaving. There are many things that can happen and when a person tries to leave is when things become more dangerous. Issues will be talked about, a plan will be made, a discussion will take place about the best time, the best place to go to, and any other issues that each individual may have.

A basic safety plan consists of a checklist of things that should be with the person when leaving. These are usually credit cards (in the person's name only), medications, identification (including social security card and birth certificate), money, basic clothing, and a few other things. We do not recommend a person bringing a cell phone, because with technology these days, they are easily traced.

These are just the basics. It is not a good idea to call an agency about domestic violence from a cell phone that has itemized billing. If the call is made from your the home, make sure that the abusive person will not be arriving home anytime soon. After the call is made, be sure to call another number so it cannot be redialed.

If you need to talk to a professional call the The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and you will be connected to someone in your locality.

I know that someone may feel embarrassed calling that number, but as a past advocate, I was always thankful that people reached out to find out what resources are available. There are many confidential and free services available to women and men that are victims of domestic violence.

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