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New Year's Eve and domestic violence: How to stay safe

The relationship between domestic violence and alcohol is complicated -- and deadly. More than one research study has found that the majority of deadly domestic incidents are connected to the perpetrator's use of alcohol. In many cases, all it takes is a few drinks and access to a gun to start a domino-chain of events that will end in someone's death.

That's why we urge anyone who is living in an abusive or volatile situation to make safety plans during the New Year's holiday. Since alcohol is a part of many traditional celebrations and is likely to be everywhere, you need to be proactive. Here are some tips:

1. Don't stay isolated

Abuse is more likely to occur when you're behind closed doors with your abuser, so keep yourself occupied and in public. Go to a friend's house, make plans to see a public fireworks display or go to a party where no alcohol is being served.

2. Have an escape plan

If you suspect that nothing you say or do can stop your partner or spouse from drinking, pack a "go" bag and be ready to get out the door at the first sign that he or she is starting to unravel. Arrange for a friend or relative to pick you up at a designated spot after you leave -- just make sure that you have your identification, some money and any necessary medications with you.

3. Consider a restraining order

If you've already been abused, and you fear for your life, it may be time to consider taking legal action. For example, if you're the victim of stalking by a former partner or spouse, a protective order may give you some additional protection and peace of mind -- even if you are no longer living with your abuser.

Our office understands that domestic violence brings up a lot of emotions, and it can be hard to cope with all of the sudden decisions you have to make. To learn how we might assist you, contact our office directly.

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Bottner & Skillman Attorneys At Law
116 W. Washington St.
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Charles Town, WV 25414

Phone: 304-885-4265
Fax: 304-725-3988
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