Protecting Yourself from a Violent Spouse or Ex

Worried looking woman

The statistics are sobering, three women are killed every day somewhere in the United States by a current or former spouse. More than 1,500 women killed in 2011 by men they knew and almost five million subjected to physical violence every year. While it’s far and away typically a woman who is the victim—85% of reported cases of domestic abuse are from women who have been hurt—statistics also show that one in seven men will be subjected to severe violence by a domestic partner during their lifetimes. So what can you do to protect yourself?

It seems simple, and in reality is more difficult than it seems, but the best advice is to leave, and to leave, and to find a safe place where your spouse or ex can’t get to you. Studies show that victims are most at risk for serious injury at the termination of a relationship. Statistics also indicate that abusers won’t respect most boundaries, so it’s best to relocate somewhere you can’t be found, where you either have a level of protection that will prevent access or your ex doesn’t know where you are. Don’t go to a friend’s house, your parents’ place or anywhere your ex might look for you.

Though it’s best to leave as soon as possible, that may not be feasible financially. If you have the financial resources, get out immediately. But if you don’t, and can keep things calm for a short while, try to put some money aside, if you can. Don’t put it in a bank account with your spouse’s name on it, and don’t stash it in your house or car. You will also want to bring some clothing and other essential items to a safe place, so that you can leave quickly, if necessary.

When you are the victim of a domestic abuse, your abuser can attempt to control every aspect of your life, making it difficult for you to plan or to notify others that you are in trouble. If you have any concerns about domestic violence, you should create a code system with family and friends, so that you can notify them that you need help without tipping off your spouse or partner. You may want to memorize critical phone numbers and addresses, rather than having them on your phone or written down anywhere, as that may make them too easy for your partner to find.

If you have the time and ability, you should compile the following documents in a folder and store them in a safe place (away from your home and away from family and friends):

  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Insurance policies
  • Deeds or leases
  • W-2s for you and your spouse
  • Any documentation of past abuse

Contact the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates

For experienced counsel in family law matters, contact our office online or call us at 972-445-1500 (toll free at 877-613-5800). Your first consultation is free of charge.


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