Sadly, domestic violence continues to be a problem in Arizona. Domestic violence occurs whenever any form of abuse or violence is committed by one family or “household” member against another. This may also extend to relationships where the abuser and the victim don’t live together currently but have previously resided together, have had a child together, or are currently in a sexual or romantic relationship with one another. Regardless of the circumstances, however, if you believe you are a victim of domestic violence, it is imperative that you take action immediately. Here are five important steps to take after experiencing domestic violence:
Step 1 – Leave Quietly
In any situation where you feel the threat of domestic abuse or have experienced domestic abuse, it is crucial that you remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. If you have children with you, you will also need to remove them from the home. This step should be taken as swiftly and quietly as you can. Never alert your abuser to the fact that you are planning to leave. In the experience of the team at Schill Law Group, most abusers will try to prevent you from exiting the situation or from taking your children away from the scene if they are given an opportunity to do so. This means that you should not verbally tell your abuser that you plan to leave, you should not write a note, and you should not post your plans to social media.
Step 2 – Contact the Authorities
As soon as you are safely away from the domestic violence situation, you need to contact your local Arizona law enforcement agency. The police can respond to your abuser in the appropriate manner in order to ensure that the safety of you, your children, or any other victims will not be compromised going forward.
Step 3 – Seek Legal Representation
After the police have been notified of the domestic violence event and have responded, you will need to enlist the help of an experienced domestic violence attorney. Make sure that the attorney you choose has worked on Arizona domestic violence cases in the past and understands the ins and outs of Arizona law. The legal team should also be able to help you secure any necessary restraining orders or to help you with cases pertaining to child visitation and custody after domestic violence.
Step 4 – Document Everything
In order to achieve a favorable outcome in court, you will need to document everything after domestic violence occurs. By the time you see a judge, any physical evidence of physical abuse will have diminished, so it’s in your best interest to take photos and/or videos of any injuries you have sustained. A written or recorded verbal documentation of what happened can also help keep your memory fresh and clear in court. This will also assist your attorney in building the best case for you.
Step 5 – Seek Therapy
Domestic violence can take a serious toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It’s a good idea to see a licensed therapist or to join a domestic violence support group after being victimized by domestic violence or abuse. Taking care of yourself in this way is a crucial part of long-term healing.