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How should I plan to leave an abusive relationship?

If you are the victim of an abusive relationship, then finally making the decision to leave can be complicated by many factors. As is often the case, your abuser may have isolated you from your friends and family. Your abuser may also control your finances. You may even have been verbally abused to the point where you now lack confidence and self-esteem.

There are a few things that victims of abusive relationships should know. You deserve to live a life free of constant fear and danger. There are domestic violence hotlines, both here in South Florida and across the nation that can connect you with shelters and other resources such as job training and childcare service to assist you with reclaiming your freedom.

Some victims who are considering whether to remain in an abusive relationship think that the abuse they suffered was only an isolated incident. Many victims even feel that something they did might have contributed to their own attacks. Some remain because they feel as though the abuser will get better and the violence will stop. Sadly, the research actually indicates that choosing to remain may actually reinforce abusive behavior. This is usually because the abuser has deep emotional and psychological problems that are not your fault.

There are many tactics you can put into place now just in case there is another assault. For example, you can keep your vehicle fueled and ready to go at a moment's notice. You can teach your children, friends, co-workers and other family members a code word known only to you and them that will alert them to alert police that you are in some danger. You should take the time now to memorize the contact information of a few trustworthy individuals that your attacker does not know. Learn to disable your cellphone and other GPS tracking devices that your attacker might use to track you.

Of course, you should call 911 if you are in immediate danger. However, your Florida family law attorney can be helpful in situations where the danger is not as pressing, yet still require you to get away. An attorney can assist you with obtaining orders of protection from your attacker and in some cases, they can represent you in obtaining a permanent protective order for you and your children. Even if you decide to stay, implementing some of these precautions is still prudent.

Source: HelpGuide.org, "Help for Abused and Battered Women" Dec. 15, 2014

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