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Domestic Violence Safety Plan

Today Your Legal Corner will provide information on “Five Steps to Guard Against Domestic Violence.”

No longer is domestic violence a family matter that individuals must work out privately. Crimes involving pro football players in the NFL have finally put a well-justified spotlight on domestic violence. Recent incidents have demonstrated that domestic violence does not discriminate. Rather, victims come from diverse social economic backgrounds, race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and education.

Domestic Violence Safety Plan

While domestic violence can take many forms including emotional, financial and physical, there are common denominators that are true regardless of the type of incident. There are numerous ways to protect domestic violence victims but here are five steps that are paramount in a domestic violence safety plan.

(1). Leave and Call 911 When In Immediate Danger

Victims have a tendency to question their fear. Did they create the situation? Are they exaggerating the fear they feel? If they ignore it, will the abuse go away? What if staying is better than leaving? Don’t question or minimize your feelings-if you are afraid, call the police!

(2). Create a Safety Code

Have a code word or sign that you can use with your children, friends and neighbors that signals there is trouble. Teach the children to contact the police if you are not in a position to do so. Teach the children to go to a neighbor’s home to contact the police on your behalf.

(3). Create Duplicates

Have an extra set of keys to your car and home. Pack a suitcase with extra clothes and special toys for the children. Make sure to request duplicates of important documents like birth certificates, accounts, deed, and insurance papers.

(4). Domestic Violence Agency

Contact your local domestic violence service agency. The domestic violence service agency acts as an umbrella agency, which can connect you to available services with in your area. Information as to housing, education, legal advice, adult and child counseling, as well as establishing a domestic violence safety plan may be available to name a few. Call SERV at 856-881-3335 for guidance.

(5). Domestic Violence Attorney

Although domestic violence agencies may provide advocates to go with a victim to court, they are not permitted to speak on a victim’s behalf, only accompany them. Victims often are not able to speak for themselves because of fear and isolation. Additionally, victims often are not familiar with all the relief that the domestic violence law provides them. Once a Restraining Order is granted, other issues addressed on a temporary basis are attorney fees to be paid by the perpetrator, child support, spousal support, payment of household bills, visitation if appropriate, removal of firearms among other items.

Ironically, the most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim is after he or she has been granted a restraining order. Take the restraining order seriously. Do not secretly meet with the perpetrator or allow them near the premises. Stay away from places the both of you used to frequent and carry the restraining order with you at all times. Speak with the perpetrator though your attorney only and keep your focus on safety! Don’t forget, create a domestic violence safety plan and follow the steps to stay alive!

Till next week, God bless, keep smiling and remember who’s in Your Legal Corner when YLC will discuss ” The Most Important Estate Planning Tool for 2015.”

Victoria M. Dalton is an Attorney Of Counsel with the well-respected Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.

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Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice! Always consult with an attorney to address your legal needs.

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