Domestic violence is a national problem that knows no boundaries. Domestic violence can happen to anyone in any community regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. It should also be noted that most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
To make everyone aware of this national problem, October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Grafton Police Department would once again like to do its part in helping to end domestic violence by offering the following information that can be found at www.domesticviolence.org.
What Can I Do To Be Safe?
Call the police: If you feel you are in danger from your abuser at any time, you can call 911 or your local police. The police department also has phones available that are programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone.
Consider the following:
- If you are in danger when the police come, they can protect you.
- They can help you and your children leave your home safely.
- They can arrest your abuser when they have enough proof that you have been abused.
- They can arrest your abuser if a Personal Protection Order (PPO) has been violated.
- When the police come, tell them everything the abuser did that made you call.
- If you have been hit, tell the police where. Tell them how many times it happened. Show them any marks left on your body. Marks may take time to show up. If you see a mark after the police leave, call the police to take pictures of the marks. They may be used in court.
- If your abuser has broken any property, show the police.
- The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters.
- The police must make a report saying what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged with a crime.
- Get the officers' names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
- A police report can be used to help you get a PPO.
Get support from friends and family: Tell your supportive family, friends and co-workers what has happened. Ask if you can rely on them during an emergency.
Find a safe place: It is not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of what your abuser has done. But sometimes it is the only way you will be safe. There are shelters that can help you move to a different city or state if necessary.
Get medical help: If you have been hurt, go to the hospital or your doctor. Domestic violence advocates (people to help you) may be called to the hospital. They are there to give you support. You may ask medical staff to call one for you.
Medical records can be important in court cases. They can also help you get a PPO. Give all the information about your injuries and who hurt you that you feel safe to give.
Special medical concerns:
· Sometimes you may not even know you are hurt.
· What seems like a small injury could be a big one.
· If you are pregnant and you were hit in your stomach, tell the doctor. Many abusers hurt unborn children.
· Domestic violence victims can be in danger of closed head injuries. This is because their abusers often hit them in the head. If any of these things happen after a hit to the head, get medical care right away: Memory loss, Dizziness, Problems with eyesight, Throwing-up, Headache that will not go away.
Get a personal protection order: The responding officer will explain how you can get a PPO to help keep you safe. A temporary restraining order may be issued even when the courts are closed.
Make a safety plan: Plan what to do before or when you feel unsafe. The site listed above has information that will help you make a detailed plan.
Anyone with questions for the Chief’s Column may submit them by mail to the Grafton Police Department, 28 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519. You may also email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include an appropriate subject line, as I do not open suspicious email for obvious reasons.
Normand A. Crepeau, Jr.
Chief of Police