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If you are in a domestic violence situation the decision to leave is often a difficult one. There are many obstacles that can stand in the way of a woman trying to leave an abusive relationship that must first be overcome to achieve safety. Talking about some of these factors with a support worker can help to assist you in overcoming these barriers. Some of the reasons it may be difficult to leave may include:

Fear for safety

  • Fear of what he will do when he finds out you have left.
  • Fear he will carry out a threat to harm or kill you, your children, your pets or others.
  • Fear he will carry out his threat to commit suicide if you leave.
  • Fear you won’t be able to take care of yourself and the children alone.

Isolation from others

  • Fear of being alone or that no-one will understand or help you.
  • Fear of being rejected by family and friends.
  • If you are in a same sex relationship, you may fear you will be “outed” or no one will believe you.

Pressures about the children

  • You believe children need two parents and don’t want to raise them alone.
  • You believe you cannot give the children the same lifestyle they are accustomed to.
  • Fear your children will be taken from you by a welfare agency or children’s services.

Promises from your partner

  • You believe that things will get better.
  • You believe that no one else will love you.
  • You believe others will think you are stupid for staying as long as you have.

Pressures from cultural or religious communities

  •  You want to try to keep the family together and live up to your religious commitment to remain with your partner.

Pressure from family and friends to stay

  • You feel ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated and you don’t want anyone to know what is happening.

Financial pressures

  • You are financially dependent on your partner for shelter, food and other necessities and you don’t know how you would cope alone.

Legal issues

  • You fear you may lose your children in a ‘custody’ battle.
  • You are worried about going to court and having to tell what has happened