So, why doesn’t she just leave?
The fact that many victims do leave or seek help is truly remarkable in light of the many barriers they face.
Leaving an abusive relationship does not guarantee an end to the abuse; rather, the abuse often escalates at the time of separation.
Sadly, the majority of domestic violence murder-suicides occur after the victim has tried to leave the relationship. Specific factors are:
Fear of injury or death
• The highest risk for serious injury or death is when she is leaving or when she has left her violent partner.
• The battered woman will leave and go back 7-9 times before she leaves for good. Each time, her chance of being killed increases.
Fear of Losing Her Children
• Battering men use custodial access to the children as a tool to terrorize battered women or to retaliate for separation.
• Of the domestic violence-related child abductions, most are perpetrated by fathers or others acting on the father’s behalf.
• 74% of employed battered women experience harassment at work by their abusive partner, either in person or on the telephone. This often results in their being late for work, missing work, or losing their jobs.
• Up to 50% of homeless women and children in this country are fleeing domestic violence.