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away from the abuser because he refuses to get the help he needs in order to stop abusing.  Leaving and seeking safety is not the same as abandoning your marriage or relationship.

Question 5: If you had to leave a domestic violence relationship, what precautions did you take, or wish you took?

Abusers may go to extremes to prevent their victims from leaving their control.  If you feel you must leave, use extreme caution.  Use your safety plan and seek advice from your local women’s shelter or domestic violence program if possible.  It can be dangerous to announce your plans or imminent departure to your abuser.  It is much safer to tell him later, and only if it is safe to do so.   

Question 6: What are some ways to notify your abuser of your departure after you have left, that will help to guard your safety?

If a victim leaves an abusive relationship in order to stop the abuse, when is it safe to return?  Most abusers are unable to stop abusing on their own.  Professional intervention and much work is usually required.  Domestic violence specialists usually recommend  domestic violence perpetrator treatment programs (not anger management training or couples counseling) that last at least one year.  Unless an abuser successfully completes such a program and is no longer exhibiting abusive behaviors (consistently, for at least 6 months), it is likely that the abuse will resume once the victim returns to the relationship. Even if an abuse program is completed there is no guarantee that the abuse will stop.  

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