Advice to Victims

You must tell the truth

 

Tell the truth at all times.  No one deserves to be beaten, humiliated, terrorized, or hurt by a loved one.   Do not exaggerate or minimize the abuser’s violence.  Find a support person (family member, clergy, friend) who will help you find the courage to end the cycle of violence.  Speaking untruths or hiding abuse by silence does not help anyone.

 

You must appear in court as a witness.

 

Honor this responsibility, especially when subpoenaed.  Do not hide away, leave town, or fail to appear at court proceedings when requested by the prosecutor or ordered by the court.  The real truth of what happened may not be presented if you are absent.  The Cache County Attorney’s Victim Services Program can help you through the process.  You can reach them at (435) 755-1830.

 

You must do what you can to keep yourself safe

 

Be concerned about your safety.  Do not negotiate or compromise about your personal safety because of the abuser’s promises to reform.  An abuser’s promise to get counseling is no guarantee the violence will stop.   An abuser’s promise that "it won’t happen again" is useless without the court’s help to enforce it.  A restraining order or a stay away order will allow the police to arrest the abuser when notified of violation, and it will limit the abuser’s legal access to firearms.  Consider getting a restraining order even though it cannot guarantee your safety.  Devise a plan for your safety by calling the CAPSA Hotline at (435) 753-2500.

 

You must keep your children safe

 

Protect your children, even if you fail to see a danger to yourself.  Your children are at risk whenever there is violence in the home – they have a 50% chance of being abused by the person who abuses you.  They suffer emotionally and psychologically from witnessing and hearing attacks on you.  Do not believe the abuser is only hurting you and not them.  Your children need you to stay well and alive.  Your children hurt when they see you hurt.  If you knowingly allow your children to be abused by someone, you could be charged with child endangerment.

 

You must not allow your abuser to believe it’s okay to abuse you or your children

 

What your abuser did to you or your child is wrong.  This message needs to be delivered to the abuser in a way that keeps you and your family safe.  No one has the right to assault or terrorize another person, not even a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or lover.  No one has the right to neglect or injure a child in his or her custody.  If the abuser is not held accountable, the abuse may continue; it will happen more often; and the injuries will be more severe.  Do not let the abuser sway you with excuses. There is no excuse for domestic violence!  There is no excuse for abusing a child!

 

You must allow yourself to heal

 

The emotional and psychological scars from family violence often remain long after the physical wounds have healed.  Fear, loyalty, love, anger, self-blame, betrayal, family pressures, financial insecurity and other emotions may cloud your ability to move on to the next phase in your life with or without the abuser.  There are counselors waiting to help you move from "victim" to "survivor" of family violence. Reach out and accept their assistance. The Cache County Attorney’s Victim Services Program can help you find the support you need.  They can be reached at (435) 755-1830.