Restraining Orders and Your Safety Plan
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great resource for anyone who feels that their safety is at risk in their personal relationship. There is a lot to explore there, but let’s zero in on their idea of a “Safety Plan.”
When worried about safety at home, with an abusive or violent spouse, partner, or boyfriend, most people jump immediately to “restraining order.” In fact, if the only thing you do is to call a good attorney who can get you a restraining orders, you have done a good thing.But this article (see link) puts it in a bigger perspective.
A “safety plan” considers how to remain safe while in the relationship, while planning to leave, or after you leave. It considers you, the victim, and your friends, family, and yes, it considers legal action like a restraining order. The Safety Plan page helps you consider your children, your pets, and special conditions like pregnancy. As in all things, if you take the time to plan carefully, you equip yourself to make the right decisions, when the pressure is on.
It is clear that their safety planning tips come from hard-earned experience. Basic examples include knowing escape paths in the house and practicing, to how to park the car, to preparing plausible reasons for leaving the hours at different times of the day or night. For kids, practicing how to dial 911, making a list of people they are comfortable talking to, training them on when to leave the house and where to go.
Astoundingly, 65% of domestic violence victims report that they stay in abusive relationships our of concern for their pets. Did you know that in Arizona, your pet can be included as part of a restraining order? Make your pets part of your safety plan.
The whole idea of a plan is to think through the details when you are cool and calm, so that when the pressure is on, you will already know what to do. A safety plan, for your personal safety, is a great idea.
When it comes to taking legal action, like seeking a restraining order against a violent or abusive person, this is where you do not want to rely on websites or national hotlines. You need to talk to a good Arizona attorney at that point. Your situation is unique. Your safety plan will be a great resource in helping your lawyer understand your situation, in order to get the precise court order you need. But you need to call the lawyer, and get the conversation started. There is a time for compassionate support, and there is a time for hard-nosed legal action.