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Abusive Relationships – How To Protect Your Kids
Have you heard about Martha Mclure? The daycare owner who took a shovel to the face when refusing to allow 3 of the children she cares for to go home with their intoxicated father? This is probably an extreme case of “enough is enough” but when you are in an abusive relationship it’s not always easy to get out of it, without any repercussions.
Abusive relationships are based on power and control and when you are involved in one where kids are involved the abuser may use them to hurt you by doing or threatening to:
- also abuse the children
- Humiliating you in front of the children
- using your children to check up on you
- Lying to your children to turn them against you
- not bringing your children back or letting you see them
- Calling immigration or the police on you so that you won’t be able to see the children
Making the decision to leave is extremely hard, especially if you have a child with your abusive partner. Whether or not you are able to leave, you can take steps to help keep your child safe:
- Firstly make sure that your child knows that the abuse isn’t their fault and that any act of violence is never ok.
- If you require legal help, consider talking to a legal advocate who will take you through your different options.
- Make sure that you have a plan of safety with your children and use it as soon as you feel that it is vital. Arrange a safe place for your children to go to and have a code word to let them know when they should leave and where they should seek help. They should also remember that their job is not to protect you but to stay safe.
- Pack a bag that you can take with you in an emergency. It should contain important documentation for you and the children, medication, diapers formula etc. Keep the bag hidden in a safe place or leave it with a trusted friend.
- Memorise (and try to get your kids to) all important numbers in case you need to leave without your phone.
- If you do leave, consider getting a protection order which may award you with temporary custody of your children and help with longer term plans.
- Before you leave, hide all the tracks on your computer
- If you leave, call the police if you and your children need immediate protection and be sure to get a police report to use as evidence in your custody case.
Being in an abusive relationship is a tough situation to be in but remember that your child and your safety are important and come first. Witnessing domestic violence can have a huge impact on children, both physically and psychologically. They may grow up believing that abuse is normal and simulate the behaviors they witnessed in their parents’ relationship.
If you are involved in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, it’s important to get help.