Women who have experienced domestic violence often feel isolated and fear that they can't turn to anyone for help. However that is simply not true. By speaking with police and other legal authorities, action can be taken so that further violence is prevented.
A police report will help document abuse and make the first step towards filing criminal charges. The person filing the report will be asked a series of questions that indicate what happened and why. It's best to file a police report as soon as the event occurs and in some cities you can even file online. Provide as much information as possible and be sure to let authorities know you feel threatened or unnerved. Once the report is filed, you become a witness in the case that is created against your abuser. A detective will be assigned to your case. You will not have control over whether or not this case ends up in court nor are you guaranteed a conviction for your abuser.
A protective order will require your abuser to maintain a certain distance from you as well as your property. In some states it's called a protection order, restraining order or injunction. Despite the legal ramifications of filing, the abuser does not always obey. Sometimes abuse can become even more intense after the victim files a protective order because the abuser realizes he is losing power and control but if you fear for your safety and your abuser is a casual acquaintance, a protective order may help.
Always remember that police reports and protective orders do not completely protect you from the threat of abuse. Instead, they are small steps you can take to develop a network of secure protection. By using your own judgment, you can decide if these steps are necessary or if they may make the situation worse.