Domestic violence is often thought of a crime that happens within the home setting. Victims may have trouble finding the financial resources or emotional strength to leave initially, but there is also a very real risk that continues to follow them even after fleeing. If you have been stalked, threatened or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable by your former abuser, here are the actions that you can take to stay safe and begin the healing process.
1. Get A Protective Or Restraining Order - If an abuser continues to call, text, or show up at places that you frequent after requesting that the abusive behavior stops, you might have enough evidence to seek a restraining or protection order. Even if no threats of physical harm have been made, being stalked or persistently followed is a serious infringement of your rights. An order of protection will help to prevent your abuser from continuing the cycle, but taking other measures such as going through a legal name change, unlisting your phone number and changing your route to work will also help.
2. Apply To Have Your Name Legally Changed - One of the many tools that domestic violence abusers use to harass their victims is usually done through seeming innocuous name searches. Since your abuser will likely have knowledge of basic information such as your name, where you work, and the names of your closest relatives, he or she may be able to find you even after you have made it clear that you no longer want to be contacted. Going through a legal name change will absolutely make it more difficult for a domestic violence abuser to locate you if you have moved out of state or taken other steps to shield your identity.
3. Request A Different Social Security Number - People escape domestic violence that occurred during significant dating relationships as well as marriages. In the event that your abuser knows your social security number, you might have reason to have it administratively changed. With a legal name change and a new social security number, it will not be easy for your abuser to know your whereabouts anymore.
4. Use A Virtual Post Office Box - When you register your address with your employer, or just go to apply for a loan, this information can make its way back to your credit report or even online data search websites. Having a virtual post office address can help you to avoid being found by your abuser. Consider using an address that is far away from your real home so that your abuser will never know where you are currently located.