If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may not know how to extricate yourself from the situation. However, there are several options available that may be used in tandem with each other.

If you are in immediate danger, call the police. The abuser may be arrested and/or you may be given an escort to a safe haven. If you do not believe that you are in immediate danger, start working on a safety plan.


Pack a survival kit with a few clothes, emergency cash and credit cards, copies of important papers, valuable jewelry and proof of joint assets. Store your survival kit with a trusted friend or relative. Also open a personal savings account and have the statements send to a relative or friend. Access to money and supplies may be difficult should you decide to leave. Decide where you will go if you leave. Choices include a motel, someone’s home or a shelter.

Once you leave, obtain a restraining order as soon as possible. Remain vigilant about your personal safety. Do not contact or engage the abuser in any way.

Legal Issues

A restraining order is a common first legal step. Guidelines for filing a temporary restraining order vary from state to state. In general, a temporary injunction may be granted the same day that it is filed. It may be either continued or made permanent at a later court hearing if the situation warrants.

Domestic violence may or may not end when the parties are separated. Victims are advised to remain vigilant, particularly in the early days of a split. Counseling is recommended to help the victim decide how best to rebuild his or her life. Those who are accused of domestic violence may also seek counseling in order to learn anger management and avoid the situation in future relationships.