Domestic Violence: When Your Spouse or Partner is Abusive

If you have been physically abused by a Spouse or Partner, do this now:

  1. Get Away:  Find safety immediately. Remove yourself from the situation.
  2. Call Police & Seek medical treatment: The moment you are away from the threat, contact police.
  3. Write It Down:  Take out a piece of paper, write down what happened during the incident, sign and date that paper.  You don’t have to tell your whole history, just the facts of the physical contact that occurred. Provide it to police when they respond, and tell them of any injuries, marks, or bruises you have.
  4. Take photos if you have any marks, bruises, or other injuries.
  5. Contact a Family Law Attorney within 1 business day so you can ensure your safety and that of your children. If you remove children from the home, you must immediately make legal arrangements to ensure you will not be charged with kidnapping for taking your children away from their other parent.
  6. If your abuser is arrested, contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in the city or county where the incident occurred within a few days afterward. Each of these offices will have a dedicated “Victim Advocate” that will have helpful information & resources for you. Just ask to speak with a Victim Advocate. You can find the number for your local Commonwealth Attorney’s Office online. The number in Newport News is (757) 926-7443 and in Hampton is (757) 727-6442.

Domestic violence is an epidemic in this country. Survivors of domestic violence often do not want to think of themselves as having been abused. It doesn’t fit who they really are: strong, confident people. But abusers are manipulators. They can change the way you think and behave, especially when you are with them. Many survivors report that they had become a completely different person when they were with their abuser compared to when they were not.

Understanding & Surviving Domestic Violence

As a survivor of domestic violence, you have options and choices that you may not realize exist. But to discover these support systems, you have to be willing to step out and report the abuse. Research shows that most abusers do not stop. In fact, most escalate their abuse. Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior. You can decide to take action, and protect yourself and your children.

In this short video, Leslie Morgan Steiner explains this phenomenon from her own experience.