Will a restraining order keep me safe?

Not necessarily.  Studies suggest that restraining orders lower, but do not eliminate, the risk of ongoing violence.  Some batterers respect such orders; some do not.  In some instances, seeking a restraining order may put you in greater danger of significant bodily injury or death.  The data suggests that most serious injuries and fatalities occur after the victim leaves his or her abuser.  You may want to consider moving to a domestic violence shelter or the far-off home of a friend unknown to the batterer.

Not leaving an abusive partner, however, could be extremely dangerous in the long run.  Domestic abuse often escalates.  In a 1997 study, 88 percent of the victims in domestic violence fatalities had a documented history of physical abuse (The Florida Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Review Project).

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