The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 835,000 men and around 1.3 million women are victims of physical violence by a partner or family member each year. October is domestic violence awareness month. The aim of this is to shed light on a silent epidemic and offer options to people who may not realize they have any.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship. It is generally used by the abuser to maintain or gain control over another person.
Domestic violence doesn’t have to be between romantic partners, it can also be between:
- legal guardians or adoptive parents;
- persons who share a child;
- roommates; or
- persons who share a common romantic partner.
Violence or abuse can come in many forms, including:
- Physical abuse: any violent behavior inflicted on another person (hitting, shoving, cutting, biting, etc.). It can also take the form of denying medical treatment and/or forcing drugs or alcohol on another person.
- Sexual abuse: when a person attempts to coerce or force a victim into a sexual encounter without consent.
- Emotional abuse: invalidating or deflating a victim’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem. This could be criticism, name-calling, interfering with a victim’s ability to do things, or ruining a relationship between the victim and someone else.
- Economic abuse: when an abuser attempts to make their victim financially reliant on them. These abusers seek to gain complete control over financial resources.
- Psychological abuse: when an abuser invokes fear in their victim through intimidation or threats of violence.
- Threats: threatening to injure or use a weapon as a form of psychological abuse.
- Stalking: following, spying, watching, harassing, or showing up at a victim’s work or home.
- Cyberstalking: online actions that inflict substantial distress on the victim.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, you can apply for a court order to keep your abuser away from you and your family. This is called a protective order, and there are a few types you can choose from:
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO): when a law enforcement official encounters a domestic violence situation, the alleged abuser is usually required to leave the home. If the alleged abuse was severe enough, the police can order an EPO, which is given to the victim for a limited period (until the victim can gain long-term protection).
- Protective Order (PO): this is different from an EPO because it is for a longer period of time (1 to 5 years). A victim always has the option to renew their protective order if they still feel threatened by the abuser.
- Restraining Order (RO): this order requires parties to do (or not do) certain things. This could be to stay a certain distance away from, or cease all contact with, the victim.
Violation of Protective Orders
If someone has been found guilty of a protective order, they can be charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court. A felony charge is usually reserved for serious or repeat violations.
Helping Our Clients Stay Safe
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you are a victim of domestic violence. Our firm is made up of dedicated, compassionate attorneys who will do everything in our power to provide safety to you and your family.