A rash of high-profile domestic violence cases in Australia has unfortunately made this a common news story showing up in the media. It is tough making the decision to end a marriage because of domestic violence, but it is very important you know what to do before you leave the home so that you can protect yourself and your children.
Step One - Find A Place To Go
When it comes to thinking about where you are going to go, for the short-term it is good to find a place that is not an obvious option for you to go to. That is, don't go to your parent's home or that of your best friend as these are the first places your partner will go if they want a confrontation with you.
Instead, pick a non-descript motel if you can afford it. If not, contact your local domestic violence shelter as they can help you find a safe place for your family to go and lay low for a while.
Step Two - Go To The Police
While you may not have wanted to involve the police in the past because you were frightened of your partner's reaction, when it is time to leave the home you must go to the police and report prior incidents. Before you do this, gather up as much evidence as you can to support your claims. Photographs accompanied by statements of dates and times of abuse will help to verify that you have been battered by your partner.
The information you provide to the police will be kept confidential and they may decide to investigate the case further. However, it is important that they are aware of your domestic violence history so that they can protect you if necessary once you leave the family home.
Step Three - Hire A Lawyer
You need a lawyer to protect the interests of you and your family once you leave the family home as there are going to be several legal matters that need attending to so that you can start your new life.
Firstly, you can organise for your lawyer to request an apprehended violence order through the courts. This restricts the amount of contact your partner can have with you. By having a lawyer, they can appear in court on your behalf so that you don't need to face your ex.
Secondly, they can begin the ball rolling for divorce. Because divorce involves negotiations regarding property settlement and child custody, this is not a situation that you will be emotionally ready to deal with face-to-face. Therefore, your lawyer can do all this for you without divulging to your ex your current location. This helps to keep you safely at arms-length during the negotiations.
You don't need to be another domestic violence statistic and you don't need to suffer in fear anymore. It takes a brave person to find the strength to walk away from an abusive marriage, but that journey can be started by you taking just one step.