Help available for victims of domestic abuse

All families have secrets. While some family secrets are cooking recipes, other families harbour far darker secrets like those of domestic violence.

The RCIPS takes all cases of domestic violence extremely seriously and is working very hard to ensure people are aware of what help, advice and support is available to them, stated a press release.

Due to the nature of domestic violence, families can often end up living in constant fear.

Doing something about it can seem like a tremendous risk, one that could result in the perpetrator turning to even more abusive behaviour. However, for those stuck in such situations, it’s important to recognize the urgency of doing something, as the abuse typically grows worse over time and can be very damaging for children, even if they’re only witness to, and not victims of, domestic violence.

Those involved in relationships where domestic violence occurs should consider the following advice.

Living with violence

Find a safe place in your home – If an argument occurs, have a few safe places in mind should your partner grow violent or out of control. Avoid rooms with no exits (i.e., the bathroom) or any that might contain potential weapons, such as the kitchen.

Make a list of contacts – Store a list of safe contacts you can call in case a domestic violence situation arises. These can either be written down or stored in a phone. Make them easily accessible should you need them in a hurry. It also helps to commit a few of these numbers to memory.

Have cash on you at all times – This is important in case a situation escalates to the point where you need to escape immediately. Keeping money available will enable you to escape quickly without having to rely on someone else or credit or debit cards.

Escaping domestic violence

Many victims do escape relationships that involve domestic violence. However, those victims will tell you the fear often does not go away, as a history of being abused in one’s own home is hard to shake. While the fear is something each individual must deal with, there are steps to take to minimize the likelihood of a recurrence once you have escaped a violent relationship.

Change your phone number – Domestic abuse can be both physical and mental, and harassment is a common means of mental abuse. Changing your phone number can help you avoid that harassment. It is also a good idea to get a device such as Caller ID, so you can see who is calling before picking up the phone and have a record of your incoming calls.

Change the locks – Even if your abuser has left their keys, changing the locks remains entirely necessary. Copies of keys can easily be made, so do not assume your former partner does not have a copy.

Try not to stay alone – Although it can be difficult to invite others into your home once you’ve been abused, try not to stay home alone too often, as your partner could very well return. Have a relative or friend stay over if possible, and if you ever feel as though you are in jeopardy, stay at their place if need be.

Change your routine – Attackers will often prey on people whose activities they can predict. Someone you have lived with in the past likely knows your schedule better than anyone, so change it up to throw them off. If your routine involves any activities such as jogging, include a friend or relative as well.

Notify school and work contacts – Let security at your office as well as school officials (if you have children) know of your past problems. If possible, provide each with a photo of your abuser in case they show up.

FYI

There is help available and for more information on dealing with domestic violence or on how to help a loved one report the abuse to the police or another body please contact the RCIPS Family Support Unit at 946-918.

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