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An attorney can be a victim's greatest advocate

When you are in an abusive relationship, it can be an isolating and emotionally draining experience. The fear of continued punishment for everything you do can make you freeze and feel unable to extract yourself from the situation. But you must know that it is possible to remove yourself and your children from this toxic situation and you don't have to do it by yourself.

Find a safe harbor

It's the hardest and biggest step to freedom. If your friends or family cannot provide shelter from the abuser, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to find a safe place to stay. And remember: abuse does not always include violence. Emotional battery can be just as damaging, making it difficult for the victim to remove themselves from the reach of the abuser.

Contact an attorney

A lawyer with experience in representing victims of domestic violence has a complete understanding of how to best protect you from your abuser now and in the future. They will be your advocate, dedicated to assisting you. They can help expedite the application of restraining orders, help you file for divorce, and ensure that support for your children is enforced. They will understand exactly how the laws in your state apply to your situation and provide guidance on how best to move forward to a safer and healthier lifestyle.

Follow up with local law enforcement

Once you have a protective order in place against your abuser, it's important for your local police department to know about your situation. They can respond faster and with appropriate force if they have a full understanding before they arrive on scene, if the order is ever violated. It's going to take an ongoing effort on your part to keep you and your children safe from harm. Your attorney can assist in opening the lines of communication with the officers.

Use local mental health resources

After surviving an abusive relationship, you need to work toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the future. Local support groups for abuse victims can put you in contact with mental health professionals able to provide the guidance needed to make changes to your decision-making process when encountering abusive personalities from here on out. Your attorney will also be able to put you in touch with those ready to support you through this difficult time.

You are not alone. While enduring a toxic relationship, you might feel that nobody is on your side. The fact is there are more good people including attorneys, social workers, and friends who are ready to support you in your new life apart from your abuser than you ever thought possible. First, you must reach out for their assistance.

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