If you believe you’re a victim of domestic violence, there’s a good chance you are. Although many domestic violence cases involve physical violence, many involve emotional, sexual, and psychological violence. These variations can lead to some victims waiting to seek the help they need to escape dangerous situations and move forward with their lives.
Unfortunately, domestic violence cases skyrocketed nationwide, including in California, due to people living in much closer proximity during COVID-19 quarantines and lockdowns. The combination of an increase in cases and lack of easily accessed resources left many victims confused and unsure of their next steps.
If you’re found this blog because you’re wondering if you’re a victim of domestic violence, it’s better to err on the side of caution and prevent the situation from escalating by taking these steps.
Call the police if you believe your life or health is in danger.
Many people who are seriously injured or even killed by spouses, significant others, and other romantic partners suffered from a history of domestic violence and abuse. However, many of those victims were hesitant to get the help they needed to prevent the situations from escalating.
If your life, health, or wellbeing are in imminent danger, or you’ve already been physically harmed, assaulted, or battered, contacting the police can help you avoid further injury and could even save your life.
Know you’re not at fault for the situation.
It’s common for domestic violence victims to believe that they somehow caused or contributed to their situations. But no one deserves to be physically, sexually, psychologically, or emotionally abused. Unfortunately, some victims may begin to blame themselves for the abusive treatment they endure, especially when their abusers accuse them of causing situations to escalate.
This is particularly common when abuse has been occurring for months or years, especially when it has slowly escalated over time. Learning to identify abuse as it occurs can help victims realize that the problem lies with their abusers—not themselves.
Call a national, state, or local helpline.
If you’re able to speak on the phone privately and without fear of being overheard, there are a few helplines you can call to get advice, strategies, and even directions to local safe spaces.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE)—This hotline provides people nationwide with the resources they need to protect themselves and prevent future domestic violence.
- California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (916 444-7163)—This organization helps California domestic violence victims find local programs that can provide them with direct assistance.
- Orange County Women’s Health Project (714-619-8419)—Although this organization doesn’t provide crisis services, it does provide resources that can be helpful to women who are experiencing or believe they may be experiencing domestic violence.
Some resources for domestic violence victims offer discrete methods for communication, including online chats and options for quickly exiting browser windows. These tools can be valuable if your movements and actions are closely watched and monitored by your abuser.
Document what’s happening.
When it comes to involving the legal system in a domestic violence case, evidence is extremely important. That’s why you should document as much as you can about the situation. Write down each incident when domestic abuse occurs. Recording incidents, whether in audio, photo, or video form, can also be helpful. Saving threatening or abusive voicemails can also bolster your case against your abuser.
Get legal assistance.
Although you can apply for and receive a restraining order against your abuser on your own, this matter is best handled with an experienced Orange County family law attorney on your side. That’s because protective orders aren’t always automatic, and sometimes they are delayed by a matter of days, weeks, or even months—which can be critical when domestic violence is escalating in severity.
With a law firm working with you, you’ll know your bases are fully covered and the process will be faster. The quicker you get a restraining order, the less likely you are to suffer further violence that can put your health and even your life in jeopardy.
Create an escape plan.
All the professional and legal assistance in the world doesn’t amount to much if you’re still in the same household or easily reached by your abuser. For maximum safety and security, you need to create distance by leaving. But doing so without a plan can be disastrous.
Talk to trusted friends, family members, and even co-workers to find a safe place where you can stay while the family court system works in your favor. Have essential items packed and ready to go when the opportunity rises.
Stick to your guns.
It’s common for domestic violence victims to feel guilt and remorse after leaving their abusers, especially if the police and legal system get involved. But walking back your statements or moving back in with your abuser can have devastating consequences.
In many cases, abusers will do anything to regain control and power over their victims, and once it’s regained, they become even more controlling and violent. Once you make the decision to leave and involve the California family law system, your decision should be firm and final.
Tell Us Your Story—We’re Ready to Help.
Getting the services, assistance, and advice of an experienced Orange County family law attorney can be one of the most important things you’ll do in your domestic violence case. And at The Law Office of André J. Ausseresses, APC, that’s exactly what we offer people just like you every day.
We know that you’re going through one of the most difficult times in your life right now, and you may be unsure of who to trust—or even if you can trust your own instincts. We offer free initial consultations, which means you can tell us your story and what’s happening in your life without worrying about a big invoice or attorney’s fees.
Don’t wait another day to get the experienced, compassionate, and dedicated legal assistance you need. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.
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Helping you through family law matters such as divorce, domestic violence, legal guardianship, child support, child custody, visitation rights, alimony and more.
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Call: (949) 244-8871