As we approach the holiday season, there is excitement in the air! However, with the busy schedules and activities the holidays are also a time of great stress. Unfortunately, many things can trigger a stressful reaction that can occur from family members, partners and children. If you are in a relationship that is defined as one of ?domestic violence?, there are some ways you can guide yourself towards safety.
Domestic Violence ? Defined
First, it?s important to consider what is an act of domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as acts or threats between two people who have an established relationship, including marriage, domestic partnerships in which the couple may have a child or children or anyone sharing a mutual, close relationship.
Domestic violence includes many types of abuse. The most obvious is physical abuse. Emotional abuse and stalking may also be considered forms of domestic violence.
When to Seek Help for Victims of Domestic Violence
If you or someone you know experiences any of the following occurrences, you need to get help immediately.
An incident of domestic violence is when someone intentionally causes the following to another person:
- Physical pain
- Physical injury
- Intentional illness
- Sexual assault
- Fear that an above incident may be repeated
- Evidence of beating ? bruises, broken bones, etc.
If you are the victim or know a victim that has experienced any of the above, you need to seek help. Listed below are places where you can report domestic violence:
- Oasis Shelter:?Oasis is a safe place for abused women and their dependent children who need to escape the cycle of domestic violence.
- 911 Operators: Operators are available in emergency situations. The 911 system is in place in many communities for emergency access to medical and police assistance.
- Domestic Violence Victim Services:?Services are free and private and are available to all victims of domestic violence, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. A 24-hour hotline service is available for support and information, and offers counseling, safety planning and education about domestic violence. This service also provides temporary food and housing for victims of domestic violence.
- Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence:??A non-profit organization that strives to eliminate domestic violence throughout the state of Illinois.
- Restraining Orders and Orders of Protection: Victims of domestic violence can go to a local court to secure protective or restraining orders that work to keep an abuser from coming into close contact.
Have a Plan
If you are in a domestic violence relationship or related situation, have a plan to guide you and your family to safety.
Inform neighbors and family members of a potential situation. Provide them with code words so that you can communicate the danger clearly when the abuser is present. Teach your children how to call 911, and what to say when the call is placed, reminding them to stay focused on providing the facts.
Having a savings account of your own is a priority. This will allow you access to funds whenever you need them. Leave personal belongings with a person you can trust and where you can have instant access to them. Make arrangements for a safe place where you can go that only a few key members of your family know exists. Keep a set of phone numbers with you. In the cell phone age, it is too easy to rely on your phone for contact info. Be proactive – if you have to leave the cell phone behind or if it is taken from you, you will still have your list of numbers.
Practice the best route to get out of your house. You will want a pathway that leads straight to the outside where you can call for help. Pack bags in advance for you and your children, if applicable, in a place where you can get to them easily and swiftly. Review your safety plan often with your children.
Decisions made during a domestic violence situation can often be the difference between life and death, which is why you need an experienced attorney. ?The family attorneys at Sherer Law Offices?will help you make the safest choice for you and your family and help you get the counsel your family needs. Contact our office if you have questions.