Domestic violence does not lessen over time. Violence generally occurs more frequently over time, lasts longer, and causes greater physical injury. Statistically, the most dangerous time for a victim is when leaving the abuser.

The following are some tips for your safety whether or not you are able to leave your abuser

  1. Do not tell the abuser you are planning to leave. Formulate a safety plan and put it into action quickly.
  2. If there is an argument, move to an area in which you have access to an exit. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells would you use to leave safely?
  3. Keep a packed bag and emergency money in a safe and accessible location, and know where you will go if you must leave in a hurry.
  4. Make and keep copies of your and your children's important documents (birth certificate, marriage license, medical records, insurance documents, Social Security Card, passport, green card, check/bank books, medications, etc.) in a safe place for you to take with you when you leave.
  5. Use a code word with your children, family, friends or neighbors so they know when to call for help.
  6. Change locks on your doors. Install other safety devices/locks on doors and windows.
  7. Keep a list of important contact names and telephone numbers including the local domestic violence agency, as you do not need to leave your abuser to use their services.
  8. Call 911. Obtain an Abuse Prevention Order.

Victim Assistance Advocates are available at each District Court in Berkshire County to provide court advocacy, safety planning or referrals. Advocates work closely with other local domestic violence agencies to provide coordinated, sensitive services for victims. An Advocate can assist anyone in obtaining a restraining order (209A), explaining the criminal justice process and providing support and referrals.

For more information, contact a Victim Assistance Advocate in the Berkshire District Attorney's Office at 413-443-5951.

If the situation is an emergency, call 911 immediately.