WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information

Court System Basics

I’m afraid the abuser may want to seek out revenge if I file a legal action against him/her. What can I do?

No one can predict what the abuser would or would not do better than you can. At the end of the day, it is your safety at issue and you will have to weigh the risks and rewards of going to court versus not going to court. If you think, in your situation, it is best not to file a legal action against the abuser, you might want to seek other alternatives to keep yourself and loved ones as safe as possible. A local domestic violence program might be able to work with you to create a safety plan that does not include legal action.

If you decide that you need to file a legal action or if your situation absolutely needs the court’s intervention, you should keep in mind that someone who is or was abusing you might want to get back at you (retaliate) if you file court papers against him/her. This might include lashing out at you or your friends and family; posting about you on social media; filing a court case against you; harassing you; or even physically assaulting you. If the abuser commits a crime while retaliating against you, there might be other legal remedies available for you. You can contact the police if it is safe for you to do so, or talk to a lawyer who can advise of possible legal alternatives. Either way, it is important to safety plan so that you and your family can stay as safe as possible. To see some ideas on how to plan for safety, you can visit our Safety Planning section.