We at Claery & Hammond, LLP have seen domestic violence factor into many family law issues – everything from divorce to child custody. Sometimes these issues arise because of abuse in a home; sometimes the abuse follows these disputes. However it begins, domestic violence must end.
Domestic violence is an uncomfortable topic to address, but that only means it’s important to talk about. Violence that occurs in families can have lasting effects upon everyone involved. It’s a phenomenon that shouldn’t exist, but it does, so the best way to deal with it is to shed light on what it is.
We believe that once people understand domestic violence a little more, they can empower themselves to take action in their defense should they experience it at home. So, with that in mind, here are some things that everyone should known about domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Affects Everyone
Domestic violence is not a private matter. When we say that domestic violence affects everyone, we’re not just talking about everyone in a home or even an extended family. Domestic violence has rippling effects that can be felt in communities – even nationwide. Domestic violence can put people at risk of developing depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also put people at risk of becoming violent themselves, thus continuing the cycle.
Domestic Violence Isn’t Always Physical
We often imagine abuse in its physical forms, but it can take on others as well. In addition to physical and sexual violence, abusers can lash out verbally or emotionally manipulate survivors. They may also isolate survivors from relatives and friends while maintaining a total control over the survivor’s finances. Beyond this, abusers can be highly manipulative and tend to gaslight survivors as well.
Domestic Violence Isn’t Always Obvious
It’s not uncommon for domestic violence survivors to be unaware of the situation they’re in. This is especially the case if the abuser is adept at manipulating their perception of facts and reality.
Leaving a Domestic Violence Situation Is Hard
Most survivors of domestic violence can’t simply leave, especially if they’re being financially or emotionally manipulated into staying. Also, leaving or attempting to leave can increase their risk of danger, potentially triggering an escalation in the abuser’s behavior.
Survivors Aren’t Responsible for the Abuse
One of the most unfortunate perceptions of domestic violence is that the survivor “did something” to provoke the abusive behavior. Provocation – whether real or imagined – doesn’t matter in a domestic violence indecent. The only thing that matters is the abuser’s choice to use violence, for which there is never an excuse.
A Restraining Order Can Be the First Step Toward Freedom
If a domestic violence survivor can leave their situation, they should immediately seek to file a restraining order against their abuser. These court orders can provide survivors with a number of protections, such as eliminating the abuser’s right to contact them, come within a certain distance of them, and even own weapons while the order is in effect.
If you or someone you know could benefit from a restraining order, reach out to our attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP for more information.