Protecting Yourself from an Abusive and/or Stalking Spouse
Sometimes the ones we love the most hurt us the most. What should be an affectionate and loving relationship can often wind up as a violent and aggressive show of dominance and control. The American Bar Association cites that nearly 25 percent of women and 7.6 percent of men have been abused or raped by their intimate partner. If you or a loved one is involved with an abusive or stalking spouse or romantic partner, read on for important information on how you can protect the victim’s health and safety.
Signs of an Abusive Relationship
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline - and our own experience - some warning signs that you are in some form of an abusive relationship include those times when your partner:
- Is jealous of your relationships with friends and family, often making insults or other derogatory comments behind their backs to make them seem smaller and more insignifcant in your eyes;
- Keeps you away, or isolates you, from your friends and family;
- Attempts to control how you spend your time and money;
- Takes your money or refuses to give you money for ordinary expenses;
- Threatens you, your children, and your family;
- Gets defensive, hostile, or volatile when asked even the most innocent of questions;
- Drives dangerously when you are in the vehicle with him or her;
- Forces you to consume drugs or alcohol;
- Throws your things, punches walls, or kicks doors;
- Tries to force you to have sex with him or her in ways or at times when you are not comfortable; and/or
- Hits, chokes, pushes, or otherwise uses physical force against you and others, including your children, family, and friends (or, occasionally, an innocent bystander).
These are just a few of the signs of an abusive relationship. If your partner scares you, or if you feel like you are not safe with him or her, strongly consider finding a way to safely leave the relationship.
Leaving the Relationship
The National Domestic Violence Hotline notes that violence often escalates when the abuser feels that he or she is losing control, such as when the partner decides to leave the relationship. We recommend that you take steps to safely leave the relationship, including:
- Keep evidence of physical abuse, or a journal documenting all instances of violence, in a safe location out of the observation of the abuser. It is imperative that such records be kept in a safe place where your abuser can't find them. Do not keep them in your home, vehicle, or other location that they may have access to.
- Don't keep the abuse a secret. Tell a trusted professional what is happening: your doctor, an attorney, a police officer, or social worker.
- Seek medical attention if you are injured.
- Keep emergency money out of the reach of your abuser.
- Gather important documents that you will need, such as your driver’s license, social security card, financial account information, credit cards, check books, and any legal papers in which you documented the abuse.
- Do not threaten the abuser in any way, or do anything of an inflammatory nature that may agitate him or her.
Every situation is different, and yours may require a different approach to best maximize your safety. Avoid doing anything that will cause the violence to escalate and remember to keep yourself safe.
How a Private Investigator Can Help
The compassionate private investigators at Linked Investigations can help victims of domestic violence and their families. Whether you are a victim who needs to ensure that the day you leave is a safe one, a family member who wants to be sure that the abuser stays far away from your loved one, or a concerned party who wants to document that the abuser is violating a restraining order, private investigative services can provide the lifeline you need. Some of the services that we provide include :
- Surveillance – Our investigators can conduct surveillance to help monitor where the abuser is, and what they are doing, when you really need to know (for example, at the point when you are preparing to leave the relationship). If you suspect – but aren’t certain – that you are being stalked, we can keep watch at your home or workplace to try and determine if your suspicions are correct. Not only can this help to ensure your safety, but it may also provide the proof necessary to obtain a temporary restraining order (or ‘TRO’) against the abuser / stalker.
- Complete Background Checks – We can check to see whether your abuser has a criminal record, is a registered sex offender, or has committed other violent acts in the past. With this information in hand, you can better assess the strategies you should use when leaving the relationship.
- Fact-Finding – Our professional private investigators have access to a number of reliable databases that can help to locate accurate address information for the abuser and his or her known family members. We can also look for additional information that may keep you safe, such as the vehicle the abuser drives, or where he or she works.
- Court Testimony – We can provide professionally-written, detailed reports and other evidence (such as photographs or video) which can be used against the abuser in court proceedings. We can also appear in court to offer testimony about any abuse or stalking behavior that we witnessed.
Information to Provide to Your Private Investigator
The more information that can be provided to us at the outset, the more likely it will be that we can get the facts needed to help you move forward. (That said, we can often get started with very little information.) Some of the things that may help us with the investigation include :
- A detailed description of the abuser and photos of him or her, if available;
- A description of how the abuser usually acts when confronted;
- The abuser’s last-known address, along with names and addresses of close family members;
- Places the abuser frequents; and
- A description of the abuser’s vehicle and other vehicles he or she has access to.
Protect Yourself Today
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you to protect yourself against a violent partner or spouse, we are here to help. Call us now at 877-464-5374 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. All communications between us will be discreet and confidential. We will not disclose the substance of our consultation with anyone else.