Recent news reports in Washington, D.C. confirmed that a 31-year-old woman,
Paula Renee Coles, was fatally stabbed in her apartment during a domestic dispute. Police
responded to an assault in progress, but she was already dead from multiple
stab wounds when they arrived. Her attacker fled and is now on the run.
With October being Domestic Violence Awareness month, we want to take this
opportunity to highlight some valuable resources available for those who
may be in an abusive situation.
Do Not Use Your Home Computer
If you are researching help for domestic abuse and you live with your abuser,
do not use a computer or phone to which he or she has access. Your abuser
may be tracking your internet usage, and that may cause the abuse to escalate.
It is recommended that you go to a place where you can use a computer
to which your abuser has no access, maybe somewhere like an internet café,
public library, or a trusted friend or family member’s home.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
If you are immediate peril, always call 911 for emergency assistance. For
general assistance and information on domestic violence, contact the National
Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). They provide free, confidential
support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you go on to their website,
you will also find helpful information on how to recognize the signs of
abuse and other important resources.
Washington, D.C., and Maryland Resources
For more local assistance, residents of Washington, D.C., should consider
DC Safe and the
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as both offer victim assistance. To locate local shelters, look at DC
Coalition’s “Find Help” section or DC Safe’s resource map.
Residents of Maryland should look at the Maryland Network Against Domestic
Violence, which has a location program for victims. Their hotline is 800-634-3577.
The People’s Law Library of Maryland has a list of domestic violence
shelters where you can search for available options by county.
If you are in Charles County, you can reach out to the Center for Abused
Persons via their 24-hour hotline at 301-645-3336. If you have children
or other dependents, it is important that you reach out to a knowledgeable
Charles County family attorney to help protect your children as well as yourself.
You may feel as though you can not leave an abusive situation because you
are dependent on the abuser for financial support. The
Allstate Foundation has something called the Purple Purse campaign that may be able to provide
assistance. They provide financial tools and raise money for domestic
violence survivors in order to prepare them for leaving their abusers.
Remember Important Documents
If you are preparing to leave and seek out a shelter, remember to take
your most important documents with you. These include items like your
passport, social security card, ATM card, health insurance card, and bank
account numbers. Obtaining a copy of your deed or lease is also advisable,
but only if you can do so safely.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If you are married to your abuser and/or children are involved, it is crucial
you hire a family law attorney to help to ensure that you, your children,
and your assets are protected. We can also assist with civil matters and
causes of action that relate to the underlying domestic violence issues.
Please contact the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at (310) 804-2312 to schedule a consultation.