If you have been the victim of violence, or feel that your spouse may become violent, do not hesitate to call 911 at the very first sign of danger. Before things get to that stage, however, you can protect yourself with preparation, as follows:
Inquire at your local courthouse about protective or “restraining” orders that can keep your spouse away from you. Note that under federal law, one who is the subject of a domestic violence protective order cannot possess a firearm while the order is in effect.# If you seek a protective order against a gun owner, bring this issue to the court’s attention.
- – Locate local domestic violence shelters
Reach out to additional resources:
- – Your local domestic abuse hotline about local facilities and resources for violence victims;
- – National Domestic Coalition against Domestic Violence State Coalition list for resources near you, at http://www.ncadv.org/resources/StateCoalitionList.php
- – The National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org
If you feel violence may be imminent and you cannot move elsewhere:
- – Keep you cell phone with you at all times
- – Keep a spare car key concealed on or near your car
- – Establish a code word for texting or calling family members, trusted friends or co-workers that will prompt them to call for help
- – Set up a security code to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.
- – Choose a room in your home, preferably one with an exit, to go if a potentially violent argument begins
- – Store valuables such as jewelry, important documents, and evidence of past abuse with a trusted friend or family member
- – Keep key items such as credit cards, social security card, and evidence of past abuse, somewhere that you can access them quickly in an emergency
- – Make arrangements with a friend who can take you in, if you need to leave your home suddenly