It’s almost every day that the media continues its barrage on stories like a husband physically abusing his wife or his children, how a mother hits her sons, or how familial disputes go out of whack and without rules, turning everything into a frenzy. Domestic violence isn’t something new when it comes to the law and most of the time, a lot of people have trouble in dealing with domestic violence in their family, asking for help, and how lawyers can help resolve these problems. Let’s discuss more on domestic violence and what it really is to understand its foundations.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is when a person commits an abusive behavior directed at any member of his or her family, whether it be a partner, children, siblings, or elders. Abuse often entails a number of reasons as to its initial cause such as history of domestic violence in the family history, mental health, and any existing medical problems that can contribute to the rise of violence within the home. Domestic abuse can vary in every family, but the point is that it brings harm to the family. Women and children are the most vulnerable to abuse, but elders can also be potential targets.
The three key elements of domestic abuse include – intimidation (instilling fear), humiliating another person or devaluing their worth, and inflicting physical injury. It should be noted that domestic abuse isn’t because of someone “losing control” or having a “fit”. It should always be remembered that domestic abuse is intentional as the stronger person attempts to control the weaker one. This includes the various means of abuse such as verbal assault, physical assault, or even nonverbal behavior that can inflict psychological effect on the other person.
In certain cultures, women are controlled or dominated by men but is not readily considered as abuse. This just stems from years of tradition and a system of beliefs that have been uphold for many years through several generations. Even some women defend this stance of men dominating them because of years of practice, so not all overt evidences of domestic abuse may be considered as such.
It’s difficult to address domestic abuse in families often because victims usually refuse to take it to the police in fear that the breadwinner of the family is taken away or it could result in the complete breaking up of the family. No one is safe from domestic abuse and measures should be taken in order to help those who are abused and prevent abuse from being done in the first place.
Types of Domestic Abuse?
There are many types of domestic abuse. Specifying the type of abuse one has experienced helps during investigation and it helps lawyer get to know the potential damage charges that the inflicting party should pay if proven guilty. Here are some types of abuse in the family.
· Physical – Inflicting physical injuries is the most common type of domestic abuse. Using force, injuries are often found resulting from hitting, stabbing, choking, slapping, or even shooting. The use of drugs on the victim is also considered as a physical abuse. Restriction to healthcare is also considered physical abuse which include acts such as restriction of food and water, refusing the right for hygiene, or removing medical assistive devices like wheelchairs or crutches. The injury from the abuse does not need to be grave in nature as some believe it’s still okay when hit but had incurred moderate to minimal long-lasting injuries.
· Sexual – Sexual abuse is also another common type of domestic violence. While it includes coercion or forced sexual activity, it can also include sexual harassment such as groping or unwelcome sexual remarks. Most sexual abuse cases also tie in with physical abuse and women are the most common targets, but there are also cases where children also get sexually abused.
· Psychological – Another form of domestic abuse, psychological abuse focuses on one’s mental capacity. Examples of psychological abuse include forced isolation, verbal abuse, coercion, intimidation, or other similar activities that harm the psychological health and well-being of the victim. Emotional and psychological abuse can sometimes be separated, but because of their similarities, both are often tied together.
· Financial – Restriction of monetary resource is also considered as a form of abuse in the family. This includes activities like preventing the victim to get any form of education, get a job, or withhold any form of money through the use of a single bank account, most common belonging to the abuser. This results in the emotional harm to the victim, growing completely dependent to the abuser who has the resources to buy the basic needs in the household.
Steps to Seeking Help
The first step to every problem is recognizing there is a problem in the first place. The victims often refuse to convict their abusers in fear of losing a member of the family or the family’s top earner. Are you being abused? Here are the steps that you need to take in order to get help from your abusive family situation:
1. Accept that it’s not your fault that you are getting abused. This stems from the behavior of the abuser and know that you deserve to be happy and safe at all time, treated with respect and dignity, and you are not alone.
2. Ask other family members or relatives for help.
3. Make a decision to leave your abusive relationship by committing.
4. Make a safety plan where you formulate as to how you’ll get out of the relationship, how you’ll get your children out of the abusive home, and how to keep safe from the possible chance that the abuser turns violent.
5. Be confidential in your planning and make sure only the closest friends or family members that you trust know of your decision.
6. Ask help from your lawyer, domestic violence shelter, doctor, or the police if you feel unsafe.
How a Lawyer Can Help You?
Domestic violence is a charge strong enough to convict the abuser to be sent to jail or to be given a hefty fine. You can consult your lawyer on the actions you can take and how to handle the situation. In any case of danger, you can also ask your lawyer to contact the police in order to inform them of the situation.