HUNTLEY SAFETY 1ST - SEPTEMBER 2017
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. It is estimated that 33% of women and 25% of men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. And domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse - it can be emotional, verbal, financial or even digital. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity or social or economic status.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, here are some things to remember.
Always call 9-1-1 if you feel unsafe. You do not need to wait until physical abuse occurs to call the police. A law enforcement presence can help de-escalate the situation and officers can recommend resources for both the victim and perpetrator that may help break the cycle of domestic violence in the relationship. If that is not an option, the police can help you to leave the situation and find a safe place.
Create a personalized safety plan for yourself and your family. You cannot control your abuser’s violence but you can develop some strategies to increase your safety. For instance, practice multiple ways to leave the house, have necessary items ready to go, make a plan for your kids and pets, and know who you can trust to help you. The police or a domestic violence advocate can help you create a detailed plan for yourself.
Document the abuse by keeping a journal, filing police reports, saving emails/texts/social media posts, and taking pictures of injuries and damage caused by the abuser. Documentation will also help if you consider obtaining an order of protection. This legal document keeps your abuser away and may also include stipulations about access to residences and contact with other family members, including children. Turning Point has advocates that can help you through this legal process.
There are many resources available for those affected by domestic violence. We can help you find the appropriate resources, beyond law enforcement remedies, to help your family physically, medically and emotionally. Resources are also available for children of domestic violence survivors. Even if you think you are shielding your child from the abuse, just being around this environment changes the development of a child’s brain and can have lifelong consequences. Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to repeat the cycle in their adult relationships. Early intervention can help break this cycle.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone and help is here. Please reach out to us or another agency so we can assist you and your family.
- Call 9-1-1 if you feel unsafe
- HPD Domestic Violence Program Coordinator Sgt Linda Hooten 815-515-5336
- Turning Point 815-338-8081
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
Huntley Safety 1st is the monthly education series written by the staff of the Huntley Police Department. On the first of each month, we provide citizens with information on a different public safety related issue.