How to escape from an abusive relationship

Getting a divorce isn't easy for anyone, let alone someone who is being abused. For countless women, children and even men in Maryland, trying to end a relationship may become a nightmare if the other partner is abusive.

Domestic violence is a serious issue in Maryland as well as the rest of the country. The number of victims being abused in the state is staggering. According to the National Census of Domestic Violence Services, in just one day in 2013, 1,063 domestic abuse victims were helped by numerous state agencies. It's difficult to imagine how many of these incidents occur in Maryland each year.

The importance of protecting children from abuse

It's a tragedy whenever anyone is harmed by domestic violence, but children are the most vulnerable victims to this crime. Safe Horizon says that children can be affected for a lifetime if they don't receive the help they need to break the cycle of violence. Boys who grow up in abusive homes will often begin abusing their own spouses and children, while girls are more likely to become the victims of abuse as adults. For this reason, it's crucial to protect children by securing primary custody whenever possible to keep them from their abusers.

Emotional and verbal abuse can be hard to recognize

It may be easy for many to recognize the signs of physical abuse, but what about verbal and emotional abuse? There may not be any physical damage, but the psychological scars left by emotional abuse are just as damaging, says HelpGuide. People who experience any number of the following points may be victims of emotional or verbal abuse:

  • The other person may seem charming at first, but gradually increases his or her control over the victim and seems less charming and more menacing.
  • The victim's access to money, transportation and communication with family and friends is restricted or prohibited.
  • The other partner may threaten to destroy belongings or harm the children.
  • The victim feels afraid that anything he or she says or does may trigger an irrationally angry response.

An abuser may not have physically harmed his or her victim, but this does not mean that a physical attack will not occur in the future. When attempting to escape an abusive relationship, it's important to have a plan in place. Victims should share this plan with someone they can trust, and gather items like emergency cash, clothing, documents and personal belongings and keep them somewhere safe. It's important to document physical attacks for the authorities, and to get a protective order when possible.

An attorney can help

It may not be easy to get out of an abusive marriage, but it is possible with the right support system. A family law attorney with experience in domestic violence can be a vital part of your plan to escape.