Can The Law Help Protect Me From Domestic Violence FAQ

Violence happens between intimate partners and in families.  It can start with shouting and cursing (verbal abuse) and can escalate to pushing, hitting, and even death.  Often the abuser will say he or she is sorry, and you will want to believe that the abuse won't happen again.  Then it does happen again and sometimes it gets worse.  The abuser tells you that no one will believe you.  The abuser says it is your fault.  But no matter what you do or don't do, the abuse continues.  You are afraid.

You are afraid of your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your adult son or daughter.  You want to leave, but you are afraid of what your abuser will do; there have been threats, even threats of bodily harm or death.  You may have children whose safety is at risk.

You have reason to be afraid.  The situation is not going to get better.  Violence escalates unless steps are taken to change things.  Any children of the relationship could also be wounded  physically and emotionally by seeing violence between their parents or other family members.

You do not have to face the problem alone.  Help is available - weather or not you decide to leave.  People will believe you.  National and local domestic violence hotlines can refer you to shelters, counseling, legal assistance and support in your area.  While the law cannot protect you absolutely from domestic violence, it can help you protect yourself.  You can file for a restraining order against your abuser free of charge.  If you do move out, you can keep your new address confidential on official documents, such as court papers and your driver's license.  No intimate partner or family member has the right to abuse you verbally or physically.