What precautions can domestic violence victims in Virginia take?

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Domestic violence is an issue that authorities in Virginia and the rest of the country have been fighting for many years. In order to curb the menace, laws have been put in place which make domestic violence a serious offense drawing severe penalties. However, as universally acknowledged, prevention is best. Every individual who feels the threat of domestic violence needs to take certain precautions for protecting oneself and children who are members of the household.

The first and foremost step is to have an escape plan in mind. A possible victim must know where to go to seek safety and how to reach that place regardless of the time of the day. People may consider domestic violence shelters, or homes of family or friends. If that is not possible, the person may head to a public place such as a shopping mall, library, hospital or police station where the perpetrator cannot follow.

In the event where there is the danger of immediate physical violence, a person may look for a room in the house where there are few objects that may be used as a weapon. It is important to remember that threatening the abuser may invite more trouble; therefore, one should abstain from the use of force or a weapon to ward off the abuser.

It is also important to have all important phone numbers kept in a safe place away from an abuser. Other important information that one needs to keep safe from a possible abuser are documents such as copies of a protection order, passports, prescriptions, social security numbers, marriage licenses, records, an abusers prior convictions and similar information related to the children in the household.

Source: DCJS.Virginia.gov, "An Informational Guide for Domestic Violence Victims in Virginia - Understanding the Legal Process for Victims of Family Abuse," Accessed on Dec. 26, 2014

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