One of the biggest fears victims of relationship violence have about leaving is that their partners will come after them and hurt them even more. This is a valid fear, as relationship violence does tend to escalate when the victim leaves. Because of this, it is important to develop a safety plan with the help of friends, family members, domestic violence counselors, and the police. Although you do not have to talk to the police unless you want to, they can be helpful in obtaining orders of protection and protecting you.
Besides personal safety, survivors of relationship violence have to deal with emotional reactions to having been physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused by a loved one. As mentioned above, it is common to experience depression, feelings of helplessness and rage, hopelessness, self-blame, and fear. Support from friends, family members, and often counselors or therapists can help you in your recovery. Shelters are also available to help you get back on your feet, and are especially important if you were economically dependent on your partner. There are a number of shelters in the Chicago area that are free of charge, most of which accept children as well. Unfortunately, most shelters do not provide residential services for male victims of domestic violence, but most will provide assistance in finding a safe place and finding other resources. Addresses and phone numbers of hotlines and shelter programs can be found in the section Resources and Services.