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If you are in a relationship with an abusive partner, you might feel trapped, helpless or have no idea where to turn. Knowing what steps to take to move forward in your life is extremely important for your wellbeing.

Report the Abuse

First and foremost, call 911 or your local police department to report the domestic abuse and file charges against your abuser. It’s important to keep a record of the abuse, so write down the report number from the police report, to save with your documentation.

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.” (Source: http://www.ncadv.org/)

Understanding that you are not alone in your situation and you’ve done nothing to cause the abuse will help you move forward in bettering your situation.

Seek Medical Help

Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries. (Source: http://www.ncadv.org/).

Domestic violence leaves scars that can take several years to heal. While it’s important to seek medical attention for any immediate needs, it’s also necessary to seek professional help and counseling to aide you in the process of moving on.

Create a Safe Plan

Planning ahead is essential to keeping yourself and your family safe. Have a list of places you can go, perhaps a family member’s home or close friend’s house, when you are forced to leave your home. When creating your plan, consider where you will go, where your children will go, what to bring with you and how you will get there.

For an idea of what type of things to plan for, download this domestic violence personalized safety plan from NCDSV.org.

Think of Your Family

Domestic violence impacts your entire family and it’s important to find the support and provide guidance to your children involved in domestic violence.

According to www.safehorizon.com, “Children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.”

Be sure to remember your children’s needs throughout the entire transition and make arrangements to keep them healthy, both mentally and physically.

File a Protective Order

By filing a protective order you can ensure your safety and your family’s safety. Under a protective order, the abuser is prohibited from assault, direct communication, visiting place of resident or place of work.

If you or someone you know is suffering from spousal abuse, do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for free to speak with a trained advocate and get the support you need. If you are in the Houston area, there are shelters and resources available to you through the Family Violence Unit and the Houston Bar Association.