Important information for victims of domestic violence

As a follow up to a recent blog discussion about domestic violence, this post will contain some valuable information and resources for victims. It might sound like simple common sense to many readers, but the first thing for victims to know is that it is never permissible for a spouse or a family member to abuse you. In fact, domestic violence, like other types of violence, is 100 percent illegal in Minnesota and elsewhere in America.

It is important for victims to understand that other forms of abuse are also not permissible. This includes emotional abuse, threats, isolation attempts, economic or financial abuse, intimidation and coercion. As an American citizen, you have the right to seek help if you suffer from domestic violence.

Another way to look at it is this: Your abuser is also a victim in his or her own way. Seeking help for yourself may also open the door for your abuser to get help as well. After all, most people do not truly want to harm the ones they love.

The first step is to make yourself safe in the present. This can mean calling 911 for immediate police assistance, leaving the home, contacting a help line or even going to the hospital.

A logical second step is to acquire a restraining or protective order to maintain distance between you and your abuser. For those who do not know how to do this, a family law attorney can provide invaluable assistance.

Finally, the victim, and in some cases the abuser as well, can begin to make a healing plan for the future. This could involve divorce and relocation, but it can also involve seeking therapy either or a couple or on an individual basis.

The most important takeaway is that the domestic violence in your life must end in order for all involved to begin healing.

Source: American Bar Association, "Know Your Rights, Domestic Violence," accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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