Being accused of domestic violence often has serious consequences, even if the charges are dismissed or the accused party is found innocent in a court of law. The court of public opinion is also a very real jury in its own right, and domestic violence accusations can have far-reaching repercussions. It is important that you act fast in this situation. If you find yourself accused of domestic violence, FindLaw recommends that you contact your family members first.

The reason for this is that you have no idea how fast gossip is going to travel and it is important to take steps to protect yourself. One of the worst situations to find yourself in is if your family is hijacked and instead believes the accuser instead of you. It is also important not to say anything, anywhere (including on social media) that might be used against you. So even though you may, understandably, be feeling very negative about the person doing the accusations, say nothing in anger. It may turn out to be something you regret.

Another good tip is to change all of your passwords to your accounts, particularly if you know that the accuser has access to them. There have been instances where accusers have broken into the social media accounts of the accused and sent messages to try and establish a “history of abusive communications.”

It is also advisable to seek legal advice during this time. Every situation is unique, and sorting out the particularities of your particular case is best left to the professionals. Again, domestic violence is a very serious accusation, and time is of the essence when the accusation is first stated.