What may seem like a minor disagreement can quickly escalate into something much more serious for families with an abuser in the home. The vicious cycle of abuse usually starts off small and can escalate over time into physical violence. Because the health and safety of each family member is the top priority, make sure to know what the signs of domestic violence are, so you can protect yourself and those that you love, in addition to seeking legal help to remove yourself from the abuse.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a toxic pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, economic and/or sexual abuse. The abuser uses this abuse to maintain power and control over the victim, who is typically a family member or spouse. The abuse can happen over time in the form of small, seemingly insignificant acts, or it can be a single, more severe act.
Domestic violence constitutes four main types of abuse:
- Physical abuse. This occurs when the abuser physically harms the victim. This can include hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, choking, burning, or using a weapon. This type of violence is usually easy to spot because there will be visible injuries, such as bruises or cuts on the victim’s skin.
- Emotional abuse. This occurs when the abuser psychologically harms the victim. This can include name-calling, making threats, controlling what the victim does, isolating them from friends and family, or making them feel like they are crazy.
- Economic abuse. This occurs when the abuser controls the money and limits the victim’s access to financial resources. This can include forbidding the victim from getting a job or having access to their own money, making them ask for permission before spending money, or not allowing them to work.
- Sexual abuse. This occurs when the abuser forces sex on the victim, forces the victim to perform sexual acts against their will or does not respect the victim’s sexual boundaries.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of gender, race, age, or socioeconomic status. Domestic violence is an indiscriminate issue.
Signs of Domestic Violence
Some common signs may indicate that someone is a victim of domestic violence. If you see any of these signs in a friend or family member, it’s important to reach out and offer help.
- The victim is extremely afraid of their partner.
- The victim makes excuses for their partner’s behavior.
- The victim has unexplained bruises or injuries.
- The victim is always on edge and seems jumpy.
- The victim changes their plans to accommodate their partner.
- The victim withdraws from friends and family.
- The victim’s partner controls their money.
- The victim’s partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
- The victim’s partner threatens them or uses intimidation tactics.
- The victim’s partner has a history of violence.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to a friend or family member that you trust, contact the police or a domestic violence hotline, or seek legal help if your partner is threatening to take your children away from you. It’s time to break free from the abuse and seek a better life for yourself and your family.
How Can a Family Violence Attorney Help?
A family violence attorney has the education and experience to help victims of domestic violence navigate the legal system. They can help you get your life back on track in a number of ways, including:
- Obtaining a restraining order against your abuser: A restraining order is a court order that protects you from your abuser. It can require your abuser to stay a certain distance away from you, your home, your workplace, and your children’s school. It can also prohibit your abuser from contacting you or coming near you.
- Filing for child custody: If you have children with your abuser, a family violence attorney can help you get custody of them. They can also help you secure child support from your abuser.
- Filing for divorce: If you are married to your abuser, a family violence attorney can help you get a divorce. They can also help you negotiate an equitable division of marital property if you decide to get a divorce.
- Emotional Support: A family violence attorney is also a good source of emotional support. They can help you feel empowered, rather than helpless, as you take control of your life and your future, guided by their professional help and advice. A true partnership between you and your attorney can help you get through this difficult time and move on to a better, safer life.
There are many legal resources available to victims of domestic violence. A family violence attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and they can help you get the protection and support that you need to move on with your life.
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove Domestic Violence?
The evidence needed to prove domestic violence will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Generally, however, the following types of evidence may be helpful in proving domestic violence:
- Photographs of any injuries that you have suffered
- Police reports or medical records documenting any injuries that you have suffered
- Witnesses who can testify to the abuse that you have suffered
- Text messages, emails, or other communications between you and your abuser that document the abuse
- A journal or diary detailing the abuse that you have suffered
- Any restraining orders or protective orders that have been issued against your abuser
If you are seeking a restraining order or other legal protection from your abuser, it’s important to gather as much evidence of the abuse as possible. A family violence attorney can help you understand what evidence is needed to prove your case, and they can help you gather the evidence you need.
Connect With Stange Law Today for Domestic Violence Support in the Midwest
If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can help. At Stange Law Firm, we understand the unique challenges you face as a victim, and we want to help you overcome those challenges. We offer a wide range of legal resources designed to support victims of domestic violence, including restraining orders, child custody and support, divorce, and more.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We have offices located throughout the Midwest and proudly serve clients in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma.