If you find yourself stuck in a domestic abuse situation, know that you are not alone.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Fifteen percent of all violent crime is committed by intimate partner violence, and nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partner.
Domestic abuse is a serious problem and if the abused does not find a way to remove themselves from their abuser, it could end up costing them their life, especially for women. Nearly half of all murdered women are killed by a current or former romantic partner. And it’s not just the women who are in danger. Children living in homes where domestic violence occurs end up dealing with serious health, behavioral, and relationship issues.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence, here’s what you need to do to get out of the situation safely and find a new home.
How to Leave Safely
Getting out of an abusive relationship may be the most important decision you will ever have to make, but it doesn’t come easy. Leaving a romantic partner indefinitely can be difficult. Doubts and fears of being alone often keep people coming back into a dangerous situation. We often defer back to the times abusive partners have been quite good and use them as an excuse to stay. However, you deserve to feel safe at home. If that safety is threatened, it is time to get out.
● Craft a safety plan.
● Keep an alternate cell phone with important numbers saved. Do not let your partner see this phone or let them know the number.
● Pick a safe place to go. Talk to a friend, family member, or a person from your church who is willing to take you in when it is time to leave. If you have nowhere else to go, contact your nearest domestic violence shelter.
● Collect important documents you may need such as birth certificates, insurance cards, and bank account information. Also, write down important information including prescriptions and emergency phone numbers. Make copies of this information and store it on an external thumb drive.
● Contact your local family court about getting a restraining order placed on your abuser. If you are staying at a domestic violence shelter, workers should be able to put you in contact with your court.
● If you are able to get your hands on cash, collect as much as you can and put it in a safe place before you go.
Finding a New Home
Once you’ve left an abusive-living situation, you have to find a new one. For many people, this is the first time they’ve looked for their own home or apartment. It can be a stressful and quite daunting endeavor, but you can do it.
If you are looking to buy, calculate how much house you can afford by looking at your annual income and the amount you have available for a down payment. From there, you need to deduct your estimated monthly spending to figure out how much you can put toward a mortgage. Research the different loan types available to you and the current average APR to figure out if borrowing money is an option.
If you want to rent, the process flips a bit. Compare your annual income to your monthly spending in order to figure out what you are able to pay in rent each month. The rent will determine the amount you need for a deposit, which is typically one to two times your monthly rent cost. You may also have fees including broker’s charges, insurance and pet deposits.
Domestic abuse is a serious problem that threatens lives. Those in domestic violence situations must leave as soon as possible and do so with a solid safety plan. Once out, they can figure out their new living situation. However, the important part is getting out.
Piedmont Rape Crisis Center supports victims of sexual assault by offering crisis intervention services and counseling. If you need immediate assistance, contact our 24-hour crisis hotline at 770-586-5423.