Protecting Yourself When You Have Been a Victim of Domestic Violence

When you have been the target of domestic abuse, there are legal measures you can take to protect yourself. However, there are also non-legal steps you can take to minimize the risk of additional abuse. This blog identifies the legal and non-legal ways to increase your safety level.

Your Legal Means of Protection

When you have been the victim of domestic violence, you can ask the court to impose a civil protection order, and you can also have criminal action taken against your abuser. In a restraining or protective order, a judge can order a wide range of actions to protect you, including:

  • Ordering the abuser to leave your home
  • Requiring that the abuser not have telephone or written contact with you
  • Restricting the abuser from coming within a certain distance of you, your home or workplace, your children, or your extended family and friends
  • Ordering the abuser to attend a domestic violence intervention program
  • Requiring the abuser to turn over all weapons to law enforcement officers
  • Providing you with police protection if the abuser needs to come to your home to pick up any personal items
  • Requiring the abuser to undergo drug or alcohol counseling, as well as anger management
  • Ordering the abuser to provide you with temporary monetary support for expenses relating to housing, children, and other related costs

Additional Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself

Once you have put a protective order in place, there are ways that you can reduce the risk of future abuse. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Call the police if the abuser tries to contact you in ANY way
  • Make a plan of escape, and prepare for an emergency. Pack a bag with essential items, such as cash, clothes and important documents. Store the bag in a safe place, preferably at someone else’s house.
  • Change your cell phone and home phone numbers, making them unlisted.
  • Change the places you buy groceries, gas and other goods
  • Whenever possible, travel with another person, so that you don’t have to confront your abuser alone
  • Keep your court order and any emergency numbers with you at all times
  • Don’t deposit your money into a joint account. Set up your own account at a different bank

To protect yourself from being contacted at work, you should:

  • Advise phone operators that you are not taking calls from the abuser
  • Provide security personnel with a copy of your court order. You may also ask them to escort you to your vehicle after work.
  • Let your supervisors know what is going on, so that they can help protect you
  • Keep any voice mails or e-mails you receive at work from your abuser

Contact the Law Office of Lyon & Associates

At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to divorce and family law clients in New Jersey. To schedule an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.