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Steps to take after you escape domestic violence

Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of their age or socioeconomic status. For many people living in volatile situations, actually escaping the violence is just the first step. Staying safe in the immediate future also requires some extra work.

Here are some steps you can take to increase your safety:

1. Improve your security measures

Your abuser may take a notion to try to break in or damage your property. Make sure that you have new, secure locks on your door, including deadbolts. Consider installing a security system that includes outdoor lights and a camera aimed at your door so that you have additional safety and can record any attempts your abuser makes to enter the home.

2. Notify all important parties

You don't have to go into details, but let your employer, co-workers and your child's day care provider or school know that you have an abusive spouse or partner. Make sure that they know not to release your child to your abuser's custody and not to give your abuser any information about you or your whereabouts.

3. Enlist your friends and relatives

It's important to have emotional support when you're still adjusting to the abrupt changes in your life. Make sure that you have a few people around who can keep you company when you're feeling scared. If you can, try to make arrangements for someone to check on your safety daily until things have calmed down.

4. Eliminate avenues of contact

A lot of abusive partners try to contact their victims after the victims flee. Be prepared. Blackout your social media pages, even if you have to change accounts. Change your phone number and put blocks on your abuser's number. Disconnect from any "joint" friendships so that you don't have to worry if anybody is funneling information back to your abuser.

If you don't already have a protective order, you may need one if your abuser continues to dog your steps or harasses you in other ways. Seek help right away, and learn more about how you can use legal means to protect yourself further.

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