Incidents of murder involving domestic violence are on the rise around the country, including New York City and New Jersey. Some cities, counties and communities are reporting as much as a 25 percent increase, making it much more common than many people may realize. Oftentimes starting a divorce proceeding or the initiation of the breakup of a romantic relationship can be a trigger to domestic violence, according to statistics. In fact, domestic violence is the reason given for 20 percent of divorces.
Abused women seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence much more often following a separation than they do during the marriage or while living together. In fact, 75 percent of emergency room visits by battered or abused women follow a separation or initiation of a divorce. And perhaps the most disturbing statistic states that women who leave their abusive partners are 75 percent more likely to be seriously injured or killed than are women who stay with their abusive partner.
Experts say women are at the greatest risk the first two weeks following a breakup or initiation of divorce proceedings. Therefore the importance of creating an exit strategy, especially if children are involved, before you file for divorce or attempt a break up is imperative. Prepare in advance, including having a safe place to go to after you deliver the news. And delivering the news in a public place is also a good idea. You do not want to humiliate the person, but at the same time you may need witnesses should the person become unhinged and fly into a rage.
Take all necessary precautions when travelling to and from work, your child’s school and any other errands you may be located. Consider asking security personnel to escort you, if possible. A restraining order may be a good idea however, keep in mind it will not protect you from someone intent on causing you harm. It will however provide a useful tool for law enforcement should anything transpire. Some of this advice may seem extreme but if you at all suspect you could become a victim after initiating a divorce remember, an ounce of prevention could save your life.
Consult with a domestic violence attorney if you feel a temporary restraining order may be necessary. Discussing your situation with a family law attorney may also be helpful prior to initiating the divorce process as well.
Source: The Washington Times, “Domestic violence murders increasing; how to protect yourself,” Myra Fleischer, Oct. 8, 2012
Our Morristown, New Jersey law firm helps families in transition with a variety of family law issues, including divorce, separation and domestic violence issues, similar to what we discussed in the above post.