Putting an End to Domestic Violence: Uncovering Five Principle Causes

As a Chicago domestic violence lawyer, my first duty is providing all citizens with their Constitutional right to a fair trial, no matter what crime they have been accused of. I am also responsible for ensuring that those who are falsely accused are given back their freedom and their good name. However, I also see the pain of domestic violence – for the victims, the perpetrators, and those who are wrongly accused – and it has made me passionate about putting an end to the problem of domestic violence.

There is no one cause that can be called the primary or motivating factor in the crime. Domestic violence is not generally like other crimes such as theft or drug possession where there is an objective in mind. It is a psychological crime, and therefore one that is harder to understand. Nevertheless, researchers, psychologists, and welfare workers have come up with several primary factors in domestic abuse cases. If we work together to end these root causes, we can come close to seeing an end in this cycle of violence.

  1. Living in a violent environment and early exposure to violence. According to the Child Welfare Department, this is the single biggest cause of domestic abuse. Children who grew up in a violent household or who were themselves the victims of domestic violence are more likely to become perpetrators themselves. Similarly, children and adults who live in a violent neighborhood or who are more frequently exposed to our culture of violence through community standards, video games, music, and similar things are more likely to become domestic abusers. Of course, trying to put an end to this factor in domestic abuse is a daunting challenge, much like trying to find the beginning of a circle. However, putting more safe havens in place for domestic abuse victims and setting up more community outreach programs in violent neighborhoods could be a good and effective first step.

  2. Living with an unmarried partner. Research shows that women in a domestic relationship with an unmarried partner were more likely to become victims of abuse than their married counterparts. Of course, there are many married spouses who are victims, as well, so this will not end the cycle of violence, but public awareness of this little known fact could go far in reducing incidents of abuse.

  3. Religious differences. Research has also revealed that women in a relationship with a partner whose religious convictions are more conservative than her own (whether or not they are of the same denomination) are more likely to become domestic abuse victims. However, couples who regularly attend church are less likely to be plagued by domestic violence. Again, spreading word of this statistic could help to end the cycle of abuse.

  4. Mental illness. Experts warn that not all domestic abusers are ill, and that boiling every case of violence down to a mental disorder is problematic. However, there is a strong correlation between mental illness and domestic violence. Women with a history of depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders are more likely to be victims, while men who have struggled with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and similar problems are more likely to be perpetrators. Mental health care is appallingly bad in this country. Even those with health insurance are often denied mental health care. Making treatment for mental illness more widely available in the U.S. could greatly reduce cases of domestic violence (as well as other crimes).

  5. Substance abuse. While addiction to drugs and alcohol does not cause domestic abuse, drug users and alcoholics are more likely to engage in domestic violence, and the two problems can often feed off of one another. Creating better, more accessible, and more affordable substance abuse programs could bring about a significant decrease in both drug and alcohol use and domestic violence.

As a defense attorney, I have seen the pain of domestic abuse firsthand, and my heart goes out to the innocent victims of violence. However, I also see the psychological pain of the perpetrators, many of whom have grown up with violence and abuse from the time they were born. Putting an end to domestic abuse will bring peace to victims, wholeness to abusers, and – hopefully one day – serenity to areas that are plagued by violence.

About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a criminal defense attorney in Chicago, Illinois. A former prosecutor in Cook County, Mr. Weisberg is a member of the Capital Litigation Trial Bar, an elite group of criminal attorneys who are certified by the Illinois Supreme Court to try death penalty cases. He is also a member of the Federal Trial Bar. Mr. Weisberg is a solo practitioner at the Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg.

How to Handle False Domestic Violence Charges

domestic violence lawyersDomestic violence is a serious issue and should never be discounted as anything else. However, not all of these charges are valid and actually false domestic violence accusations can be quite common, particularly in certain situations. If you are facing false charges of this type of offense, it can be confusing and maddening. However, there is a way to deal with it and ensure that you are not wrongfully accused and prosecuted for a crime you didn’t commit.

 What is Behind False Domestic Violence Charges?

The most common reason for a false domestic violence charge is a nasty divorce case. Some women feel that the court will take them more seriously and offer them higher amounts of alimony or award custody of the children if the partner has been charged with this crime. Unscrupulous divorce lawyers may even recommend this type of action to their clients to increase their chances of winning a divorce case and getting a higher settlement.

Other reasons behind this type of charge may result from an unbalanced person who you are either currently involved with, or someone who would like to be involved with you, in the case of a stalker. Unfortunately, domestic violence laws are often skewed in favor of the victim. This can be understood in the cases of actual violence, but when it comes to false accusations, this skewing can be quite harmful.

 Dealing With the Aftermath

It is perfectly understandable to be upset under these circumstances, but you need to remain logical. Cut off all contact with the person who has claimed these charges against you. If they attempt to keep in contact, log all of their communications with you but do not answer them. This log may be of use later in your case. Hire a lawyer immediately to begin representing you and advising you on your best course of action.

 Character Witnesses and Past Actions

Your defense lawyer will start to build a case to protect you by gathering character witnesses who can testify on your behalf. These witnesses will be used to show that your actions in the past are not consistent with this type of accusation. Your lawyer may also find witnesses who can prove that your partner is not stable and has a history of making false accusations. This is a very important part of building a defense in this type of cases.


Whenever you are facing a he said/she said type of situation, it is all too common for people to take the side of the woman. However, by using character witnesses, your lawyer can prove that you are not guilty of the accused crime and prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that you are innocent.


This is one of the reasons why it is so important to make sure that you have proper representation in this type of case. You may be thinking that you know you are innocent and could never attempt to hurt anyone, but unless you are one hundred percent certain that you can prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, when sympathy usually lies with the victim, you need a lawyer. Don’t fall into the trap of knowing your innocent and feeling that everyone else should automatically know it too. You’ve got to have a lawyer to protect you in this type of situation.

Be prepared for the court battle to get nasty. This is very common in this type of case. Just as you are finding character witnesses to prove your innocence, their lawyer is trying to dig up all the dirt they can find on you.

It is all too common to feel hopeless in this situation, particularly if you feel as though the tides are turning against you. Your lawyer will be able to help you stay positive and provide you with the best possible defense to prove your innocence to the court and everyone else.

Keep in mind however that the court of public opinion may not agree with the decision of the actual court. You may lose some friends and some business associates throughout this process. Just remember to keep everything in perspective. If they aren’t friend enough to believe you and stick with you, they weren’t worth having anyway.

False domestic violence charges are terrible on many levels, but with the right lawyer, you can be assured that your innocence will be proven and you can put this event behind you.

Representing yourself in Court? Good luck with that.

representing yourself in family courtI have had potential clients ask me, often with a cautious hope, whether their particular type of legal matter, is something that they can handle for themselves.  It is a question one would never ask a physician, an electrician, or an auto mechanic, but one that I believe, is often asked of attorneys.  I tell those individuals that the answer to that question depends on how comfortable they are with understanding and researching the law, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, rebutting legal arguments, and making a persuasive argument to the judge.  Really, though, it is how quickly a person can gain and condense the specialized education and 26 years of experience that I have, into the time that person has to prepare for their hearing.

Recently, I appeared in Hillsborough County Court, in Tampa, for a Small Claims Pretrial Conference before Judge Gabbard.  My client was being sued over a nominal credit card debt, the type of case that over the past five years, has been prosecuted with greater and greater frequency.  Like many different types of court divisions, such as traffic, criminal or even some family divisions, the court calendar was a cattle call.  Of that the cases on that calendar, two individuals had decided to represent themselves.  The first was being sued, on behalf of a debt to a person who had owned the company he had recently purchased.  As the plaintiff was not suing the company, only the former owner, this was a debt for which the individual standing in Court was not responsible, and legally, could never be held responsible.  The plaintiff’s attorney was not about to point this out to the defendant, though he did try to change the subject whenever the judge tried to imply to the defendant—judges cannot give legal advice to either party, that the plaintiff had sued the wrong person.  Without any help or advice from an attorney, the defendant proceeded into a side room of the courtroom, and began discussing the terms of a repayment plan for settling a debt that he did not owe.   The second, unrepresented litigant, was a young woman suing someone on a debt.  In explaining to the judge why she had not gotten service on the defendant, she expressed frustration that the Sheriff’s process server did not do more to serve the defendant, when she was convinced the address she had provided was correct.  Again the judge could not advise this plaintiff, all she could do was reschedule the case for another pretrial conference, and tell the plaintiff to make sure she obtained service on the defendant.

In less than five minutes after their hearings, I told each of these strangers what they needed to know before and for the next time each comes to Court—perhaps to the irritation of the collection agency attorneys gathered in the Court room.  The two pro se litigants were fortunate that I did so, but the point is, neither of these individuals had any business going into Court without an attorney, or without even having consulted an attorney.

While these situations played out in the civil division of the Hillsborough County Court, I have encountered similar situations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, especially in the context of Family Law cases.  I think in every domestic violence calendar (the hearings in which a Family Law Division Judge rules on entering or dismissing injunctions for the protection against domestic violence (commonly known as, “restraining orders”), that I have attended, at least one unrepresented respondent agreed to an injunction being entered against him.  Similarly, at least one unrepresented petitioner agreed to dismiss her attempt to get an injunction.  In those situations, no testimony is taken, the judge moves onto the next case, and I am not sure the individual parties know exactly what just happened.  And for those injunction cases in which one party has an attorney and the other does not?  There is clearly a mismatch, as the one without the attorney is required to follow the same procedural and evidentiary rules that govern the actual attorney.  As long as the lawyer is on his or her game, the pro se litigant will be kept from testifying to what someone else told him or her (hearsay) and kept from showing the judge what some law enforcement agency wrote about the incident (more hearsay).  From a professional standpoint, this makes for a very effective and satisfying presentation on the part of the attorney, and a very ineffective and even frustrating presentation on the part of the person representing himself or herself.  Why then, do pro se litigants go into that dark night so easily and willingly?

I am sure finances have much to do with it.  But given the number of attorneys out there, it is hard to believe a party cannot find an attorney whose fee requirements, or payment plan, can fit their budget.  And even if one cannot afford to have an attorney there beside them, at least they should consult with one beforehand, to get a better idea of their rights and how to handle the hearing.  I am willing to bet that almost every private and practicing attorney in a county, state or country, will sit down with a potential client, upon request, and advise them of their rights in the area of the attorney’s expertise.  Depending on the attorney and the attorney’s experience, it might cost a consultation fee, but the knowledge the person receives, will be well worth the value—both when walking in the courtroom, and when walking out.

Mark Hanks

Your Family Lawyer

Attorney Hanks, P.A.


Copyright 2014



Domestic Violence: A Hidden Problem of Epidemic Proportions

The shocking photo of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson’s husband choking her in a restaurant began a worldwide dialogue on domestic violence in 2013. Most victims of domestic violence do not get such public attention. Instead, they feel shame and hide their abuse from family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Or, both the victim and the abuser make excuses, as Lawson’s husband Charles Saatchi did when he told the press“it was a playful tiff.”

The downplaying of such incidents by both perpetrators and victims is why many people are unaware of how serious and prevalent domestic violence is across the globe.Sadly, domestic violence against women is a plague in many societies. In a widely-published study from June 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated“intimate partner violence affects 30% of women worldwide.” Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, stated“These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions.”

Domestic Violence

In her statement, Dr. Chan highlights an important fact: while men do make up a small portion of the victims of domestic violence, by far the majority of victims are women.

What Causes Domestic Violence?

Surprisingly, many people blame the victims of domestic violence, thus releasing the aggressor from the responsibility of the violence committed. Victims are either accused of directly “provoking” their abusers or simply seen as given what they deserve; most often, they even start blaming themselves for the attacks.

In reality, there are many causes of domestic violence, and often there are multiple causes for a single incident. Researchers have identified several specific factors that seem to play a role in creating episodes of domestic violence or in shaping individuals to have a greater propensity toward domestic violence. These are just a few of the primary causes:

    • Drugs and alcohol. According to the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & Other Addiction Services, violent men abuse drugs and alcohol at three times the rate of nonviolent men. However, the Stop Violence against Women project of The Advocates for Human Rights reminds us that nearly half of all incidents of domestic violence do not involve alcohol. Instead, “some abusers rely on substance use (and abuse) as an excuse for becoming violent.”

    • Jealousy. In 2012, Ohio State University researchers published findings in the Journal of Women’s Health that showed a strong correlation between a man’s sexual jealousy and incidents of domestic abuse and violence.

    • Low self-esteem. Many abusers suffer from low self-esteem, which not only can create the jealousy explained above, but can cause them to feel threatened by their partners. They then react with violence to try and assert their strength and sense of control.

Domestic Violence Lawyer

  • Traditional beliefs. Many analysts argue thattraditional gender roles play a role in domestic violence, because women are socialized to be passive while men are socialized to be “hyper- masculine.” The University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center explains thatsuch gender roles create “unrealistic and strict expectations” that then give “license for the batterer to be violent.”

  • Learned behavior.Toby D. Goldsmith, M.D., writes on PsychCentral“children who witness or are the victims of violence may learn to believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve conflict between people. Boys who learn that women are not to be valued or respected and who see violence directed against women are more likely to abuse women when they grow up. Girls who witness domestic violence in their families of origin are more likely to be victimized by their own husbands.”

What Should You Do If You Are A Victim of Domestic Violence?

If you are a victim of abuse or domestic violence, it’s imperative to understand that you are not alone, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Millions of people find themselves trapped in such situations through no fault of their own. These are five things you can do right away to take back control of your life:

Domestic Violence Attorneys

  • Call 911 and report the incident. In order to secure protection and to establish a record of incidents, you must report what happened to the police. The police can even remove the abuser from the environment to ensure your safety.

  • Get to a safe place away from your abuser. It may take all your strength and willpower to do this, but it is very important that you protect your own health and safety and that of your children or other dependents.

  • Get medical attention if necessary. Even if you think that your bruises or other injuries are minor, you may have internal injuries that can create complications later. Also, medical personnel are trained in spotting incidents of domestic violence and can document your case and connect you to important resources.

  • Contact a localdomestic violence shelter or advocacy group that can help you learn your legal rights, find a place to stay, and even file a protective order against your abuser.

  • Get support from friends and professional counselors. Support systems will help you in ways you may not anticipate.

What Should You Do If Someone You Know Is a Victim of Domestic Violence?

It is always tempting to look away from or avoid getting involved in domestic violence between others, for fear of our own safety. But if you know someone who is suffering from domestic abuse, heor she may not have the strength or courage to stop it – they may need someone to step in to help them.

In their explanation of the “Myths and Realities of Domestic Abuse”, the Center Against Domestic Violence at the University of Arizona College of Law states“domestic abuse is against the law, and that makes it everyone’s business. Assaults within the family are as much of a crime as assaults outside the family.” Therefore, intervening to stop and prevent abuse is not only the right thing to do, but it can also be regarded as a civic responsibility.

So call the police and report the crime—because that’s what domestic violence is, a crime. You don’t need to jump in between an abuser and his or her victim to do this. With a simple call, you just might save someone’s life.

About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.

Effects Of Domestic Violence On Children – As Per Age Group:

Effects Of Domestic Violence On Children – As Per Age Group:

Exposure to domestic violence has negative effects on children. To properly understand these effects, it is important to first understand the dynamics of domestic violence. Domestic violence is prevalent in all groups of people regardless of age, education, race, occupational, social-economical and religious factors.Characteristically, it involves a series of repetitive abuse, including psychological, physical, economical and emotional abuse. The perpetrator uses violence to gain control and power through the use of humiliation, intimidation, and fear.

Children get affected by domestic violence differently at various developmental stages. This is because as they grow and develop both mentally and physically, they learn new things at each age. Being a victim or witnessing domestic violence can interfere with the child’s normal growth and threatens their sense of security.

Studies indicate that children who have been exposed to domestic violence have a greater likelihood of experiencing various difficulties than their peers.

These difficulties can be categorized into:

1. Emotional, social and behavioral problems:
Exposure to domestic violence by children is likely to make them anxious and depressed or exhibit antisocial and aggressive behavior. Other negative effects may include higher levels of hostility, low self-esteem, anger, disobedience and oppositional behavior; fear and withdrawal; and poor sibling, peer, and social relationships.2. Attitudinal and Cognitive and problems:
These children are likely to experience difficulties in school and have poor performance in assessments of motor, verbal and cognitive skills. Moreover, they are likely to have a slow cognitive development, limited problem solving skills, lack of conflict resolution skills, aggressive attitudes, and a rigid belief in gender stereotypes such as male domination.3. Long-term (Behavioral) Problems:

Studies indicate males exposed to domestic violence at a tender age are more likely to develop violent behavior; likewise, females are more likely to become victims.Effects Of Domestic Violence On Children – As Per Age Group:Unborn Child (Infants): 

Infants and toddlers learn through play and exploration, how to form secure attachments. If exposed to violence at this age, they learn that the parents are not likely to constantly respond to their needs which hinder the development of a strong bond between the parent and the infant. Thus, the child becomes afraid to explore their world, which interferes with play and slows down their learning process.

The effects to Infants include:

1. Emotional Effects: Hyper-excitability; Anxiety Tension and stress; Helplessness; Terrorized and Traumatized.
2. Cognitive Effects: Brain damage; Nervous system disorders and Developmental delays.
3. Physical Effects: Birth defects, forced abortion or miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth, unwanted by parent and abandoned by parent.The effects to toddlers (children less than one year old):

1. Emotional Effects: Traumatized, jumpy, nervous, hyper-alert, anxious, stressed, and fearful; Emotional deprivation; and Strong need for safety.
2. Cognitive Effects: Unresponsive; Developmentally delayed.

3. Behavioral Effects: Colicky, excessive crying; Injuries and bruises; Chronic constipation; Eating problems; Sleep disturbances; Malnutrition; Digestive problems; Allergies/skin rashesPreschoolers (One To Five Years):Children at this age bracket have started learning how to express most of their emotions, including those of anger and aggression. Thus, children at this age living in situation where there is domestic violence can learn detrimental ways of expressing anger and frustration. Moreover they get confused with the mixed messages their parents are sending them; for instance, they are punished for talking rudely while their parents talk rudely to each other.

The effects to Preschoolers include:

1. Emotional Effects: Fearfulness; easily frustrated; anxiety; fearful of abuser; feels split between parents; hesitant and uncertain; low self-esteem, and feels powerless to protect self.
2. Cognitive Effects: Sleep disorders; disrespect for women; unable to focus; and developmentally delayed.
3. Behavioral Effects: Tantrums; models abusive behavior; mimics abuser’s behavior; parrots name-calling; bedwetting; spitting; acting out behaviors; slaps, kicks, punches, swears; tries to protect mother; protective toward younger children; breaks toys; bullies younger siblings; thumb sucking; and nervous habitsSchool-Age Children (Five To Twelve Years):

The children have a better sense of their own emotions and can also recognize the emotions of others. They are more conscious of their own actions and reactions towards violence inflicted to them and may worry about their father being jailed or their mother being harmed. This distracts the child development process which at this age revolves around social and academic success. They become distracted hindering their ability to learn in school. Moreover, they develop poor social skills and tend to pay more attention to negative responses from their teachers and peers and miss hearing positive responses leading to low self esteem. At this age group, the children begin to have multifaceted thoughts about what is right and wrong. Thus, they are more susceptible to learning and accepting biased, incorrect explanations to support violence.The effects to School-Age Children include:1. Emotional Effects: Cries easily or frequently; lack of trust; lack of normal feelings; feelings of despair; helplessness or hopelessness, lack of empathy or concern for others; and anger towards the parents, especially the mother.

2. Cognitive Effects: Learning disabilities or has special needs; suicidal thoughts; withdrawn or quiet; lack of focus and structure; attracted to cults or pornography; overly responsible or tries to be too adult; and lack of responsibility.

3. Behavioral Effects: Violence towards abuser; Destroys property; Tries to be in control; Violent acting out behavior; Perfectionism; Running away; Lack of boundaries and limitsAdolescents (Teenagers):These children are fully aware of what is right or wrong but have the need to have a sense of belonging. They experience similar problem that the school-age children undergo but at a higher level. They are characterized by secretive and guarded behavior about the situation at home and are also embarrassed of their family members. Thus, they do not invite friends over and are likely to spend most of their free time away from home. Aggression and Denial are the major ways of solving problems.

The effects to Adolescents Boys include:

1. Emotional Effects: Feelings of guilt and powerlessness; withdraws and shuts down; embarrassment and Shame; Needs to control; and Lack of friends.
2. Cognitive Effects: May drops out of school; school attendance problems; Suicidal thoughts; “Macho” attitudes; Thinks violence is okay in relationships;
3. Behavioral Effects: Uses violence to solve conflicts and problems; abuses alcohol and drugs; acting out behaviors; antisocial behaviors; suicidal; problems with relationships; self-harm behaviors; homicidal towards abuser; and sexual problems.The effects to Adolescents Girls include:

1. Emotional Effects: Distrustful of others or have trust issues; blames or hates mother; needy – wants to be taken care of and protected; restlessness and feelings of tension; Feels hopeless or helpless; Confused about role models; self-blame and feels guilt about abuse; manic-depressive and “Numbs out” emotionally.
2. Cognitive Effects: Looks for protection from a male figure; school work problems; Lack of self understanding; Lack of boundaries and limits; mimics or takes on others’ personalities; multiple or split personalities; and Problem with concentrating and focusing.
3. Behavioral Effects: Unable to function at home; Drug or alcohol abuse; Unable to function in relationships; Runs away from home; Pregnancy or early marriage; gets involved in prostitution; distorted perceptions of body and Eating disorders.

Author Bio:
Cally Greene is an online consultant for domestic violence lawyer at JoeyGilbertLaw. She likes blogging about Legal issues,Business law,Family Law and other Legal advice.
You can contact her via Twitter.

Domestic Emotional Abuse is Just as Serious as Physical Abuse

For years the term “domestic violence” only brought to mind frightening physical abuse. More recently, the phrase has begun to mean many different forms of abuse ranging from physical to psychological. Emotional abuse is a very real and terrifying part of relationships for many people no matter their gender. There are various types of emotional abuse that are commonly seen by mental health professionals who work with victims of domestic violence. Those who have never experienced this type of abuse may be shocked to hear that the effects of psychological and emotional violence are as serious, if not more severe, than those of physical violence.


The first type of commonly acknowledged emotional abuse is that of rejection. Rejection involves letting a person know that they are unwanted in a variety of different ways. By name-calling, yelling, swearing, demeaning, and verbally humiliating a person, the abuser is telling the victim that he or she is worthless and often the cause of problems that are truly out of the victim’s control. When this type of abuse is used against children, it can also include refusal to hold or nurture through growth and development.


Another type of emotional abuse that often causes severe trauma is terrorizing. Yelling, threatening, teasing, and over-the-top punishment for the sake of intimidation are all considered acts of domestic terrorism. Abusers threaten their victims with abandonment or harm and often berate them in front of other family members and friends. Abusers may also terrorize by forcing their victims to watch acts that are inhumane in nature. Terrorizing can also involve threatening to harm a beloved object, pet, or close acquaintance.


The act of ignoring is common in emotionally abusive situations. In adult victims this treatment brings with it feelings of severe isolation due to the emotional unavailability of the abuser. When adults abuse children by ignoring, they may deny necessary medical or dental care, intentionally fail to pay attention to or discuss a child’s interests, or behave as though the child is not a member of the family. Ignoring also may involve a general lack of attention to nurturing children in regard to their everyday needs such as food, drink, clean clothes, school work, and other important constants that are necessary for children. Abusers who ignore are physically present but meticulously fail to recognize that their victim exists.

Emotional abuse is a dangerous and insidious element. Though the psychological effects are the same, if not worse, than physical abuse, there are no physical marks that can provide those close to the victims with the knowledge that abuse is present in a relationship. Many victims, especially children, are silent about their experiences in an emotionally abusive setting because they either fear the consequences of “tattling” on their abuser, or they have been brainwashed to think that the terrible things said and done to them are deserved.

Another scary aspect of emotional violence is that it doesn’t have to be over-the-top to be considered abusive. Emotional abuse is classified as anything that is said or done to intentionally hurt another person’s feelings. It could be as simple as insulting how a person looks. In situations where the abuse is more grotesque, it can be as severe as “gaslighting” a person, which means making them feel as though they are crazy and unstable through lies and manipulation.

Shaming, undermining the confidence of another, or destroying a person’s ability to grow, trust, and have viable levels of self-esteem are all forms of emotional violence. Like physical abuse, this type of treatment destroys the victim’s ability to trust people in any capacity of a relationship until proper treatment is received. In many cases, the effects of emotional abuse burn deeper than those of physical violence, as the abuse is often more frequent. Emotional violence destroys the person who is being abused by deeply damaging them to the core of their spirit.

About the author

Jim Burns is a freelance writer who focuses on legal issues such as Medical Malpractice, Insurance Fraud, Securities Litigation, Financial Regulation, Family Law and other important topics.

Strategies for Reducing Domestic Violence

Fighting domestic violence is never easy, particularly when there is so little that can be done to prevent a crime from happening. While authorities can do their best to limit the damage and ensure the actions do not recur, how do they go about stopping something that has not yet happened? The key to reducing domestic violence crimes is to ensure that offenders know that there are serious consequences for their actions. Instead of labelling domestic violence crimes as “domestic matters,” it is time for them to be treated the same way as any assault or violent attack. Only then will the rate of domestic violence crimes diminish.

Pressing Charges

In many cases, spouses or partners do not file charges in domestic violence cases. This trend needs to change because it gives abusers the self confidence that their actions have no consequences. Once the police are called and a domestic violence incident is confirmed, charging the offender must be mandatory. Even if a spouse or partner is refusing to press charges, the police must act on their own accord. Once a generation of people begins to realize that any domestic violence incident equals mandatory jail time, they will alter their behavior.

Responding Sooner

Those who request it should be provided with a security system that allows them to contact the authorities discreetly if a domestic violence crime is taking place, or if they worry that one is imminent. An electronic button can allow a potential victim to alert law enforcement of a domestic violence case. This allows the police to arrive at the home sooner, which ensures that minimum damage occurs.

Communities Must Help

Domestic violence cannot be prevented by the police alone. Everyone needs to join in the effort to help rid the country of this epidemic. When a neighbor hears unusual shouting or commotion near their residence, they should contact the police immediately. When the police arrive, they must be thorough in their examination of the scene. Too many officers respond to a domestic violence complaint and leave the home without making sure everything is okay. They will talk to the husband/boyfriend, who informs them that nothing is wrong, and leave. Police should enter the home, see what is going on, make sure everyone in the house is okay, and then leave.

Provide Victims with Additional Protection

The worst domestic violence cases are those that involve couples who have a history of multiple incidents. A spouse or child is beaten once, and a case is filed, yet they return to the same living environment. Chances are that abuse will take place again. In these instances, the law must do everything possible to provide the victim with additional protection. Not only will this discourage future incidents, but it gives the victim an added sense of security.

Domestic violence will never go away altogether, and it is something that needs to be battled every day. Law enforcement, communities and individual families need to do their part to ensure that people feel safe inside their homes. Changing a culture is never easy, but this is one of the cases where something has to be done as soon as possible.

About the author

Jeremiah Stone is a freelancer who focuses on legal subjects such as Personal Injury, Civil Procedure, Corporate Law, Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property and others as well.

Internet Safety Advice for Domestic Abuse Survivors

The internet can be a valuable source of information and support for survivors of domestic abuse, but it can also pose a threat to your safety. Many abusers obsess over their victim and have a tendency to track their online activity. If you have escaped your abuser, your online presence may also be dangerous because it can lead your abuser back to you. Applying simple rules to your internet activity can drastically improve your online safety.

Cleaning up your computer
Because your abuser is someone you know, they have likely at some point had access to your computer, laptop or cell phone. One way that abusers can track your online presence is by secretly installing monitoring or spying software. Another easy way they may spy on you is by turning on parental controls, and making you the child’s account which is monitored. If your abuser were to do this, everything the “child” does is reported back to the “parent,” meaning that anything you do is reported back to your abuser. Any victim of domestic abuse should check for this software. If you are not tech-savvy you can take your computer to a trusted computer repair shop.

After you have checked your computer for monitoring software, change all of your passwords to new, strong passwords. Do not make your password anything that your abuser might guess. If you have a cat named Fluffy, your password should not be Fluffy123. This not only includes your email, social media and bank accounts, but your wireless connection password as well.

E-mail and social networking
If your abuser continues to contact you via email, simply blocking their email address from your existing personal email account is likely not enough to prevent future contact, because they can always create new accounts. To put an end to contact you must create a new email account that only your most trusted contacts and colleagues have access to. Remain anonymous and be sure not to include any part of your name in the email address. This will make it more difficult for your abuser to find you. Also check to be sure the email service does not expose your real name in the “from” line when corresponding.

Delete all existing social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. If your abuser is aware of these accounts, he will find ways to check your statuses, check-ins and photos. If you want to continue using social media, delete all current accounts and recreate new ones with stringent privacy settings. Sometimes privacy settings can be tricky, and will leave a lot of your information exposed even when you think you have applied the strictest of options. Also be cautious of who you “add” on new accounts, avoiding any mutual friends that you and your abuser share.

Shopping online
Although online shopping accounts like eBay and Amazon may seem to carry harmless information, they are actually the most dangerous because they contain information regarding credit cards, email address and delivery details. When deleting and changing accounts, don’t put yourself at risk by letting these ones fall by the wayside.

Special thanks to Aeschleman Law for providing this article.

Aeschleman Law
San Jose Family Law & Domestic Violence Attorney
1550 The Alameda, Ste 330
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 724-8930

What Is a Vulnerable Adult and How Do We Protect Them?

Vulnerable adults are people older than eighteen years of age who need a caregiver, and who are unable to protect themselves or look after themselves. Vulnerable adults include elderly people in nursing homes, people who are sick or frail, people with memory problems, or people who have difficulty communicating with others. Individuals with physical or mental disabilities are also classified as vulnerable adults. Unfortunately, because these individuals need care and are unable to look after themselves, they are at greater risk of abuse. Read on for more information regarding vulnerable adults and how we can protect them.

Why Are Vulnerable Adults Targets for Abuse?

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why vulnerable adults are the victims of abuse. Violence toward vulnerable adults can be a single outburst, or it can be a premeditated attack. Sometimes vulnerable adults are targeted for abuse because caregivers are frustrated at the adult’s inability to communicate or inability to act “normal.” Lack of knowledge or training by health professionals working in nursing homes, hospitals or residential homes can result in violence, as professionals are not taught how to appropriately deal with this frustration.

While poor management and inadequate training can result in abuse toward vulnerable adults, sometimes violence can result simply because caregivers have a violent history. Caregivers are not always health professionals, and therefore training in how to appropriately help vulnerable adults is not required.

What Are the Signs of Abuse Toward a Vulnerable Adult?

Some vulnerable adults, especially elderly individuals, may be reluctant to speak out about the abuse they are suffering from. They might excuse their bruises as being “nothing.” Having injuries and not fully explaining where they came from can be a sign of abuse. Unexplained physical symptoms, such as bruising or scarring, can be explained by abuse. The appearance of the vulnerable adult might also change: they might look dirtier or thinner than before due to improper care or neglect.

Also keep an eye out for behavioral changes. A vulnerable adult who is suffering from abuse or violence might become withdrawn, quiet or depressed. However, behavioral changes on the other end of the spectrum are also possible; a vulnerable adult might become inexplicably angry or aggressive. Not wanting to be alone with certain individuals is also a red flag.

How Do We Protect Vulnerable Adults?

There are several ways to protect vulnerable adults. The most effective way to help and protect vulnerable adults is never to ignore signs of abuse and never to shrug them off as nothing. If you are suspicious, ask questions. It’s best to speak with the vulnerable adult in private. If your suspicions of abuse are confirmed, you can either call a General Practitioner or you can speak with a social worker. Depending on the nature of the abuse, you might even want to get the police involved, as abuse toward a vulnerable adult can be a crime. Additionally, help lines and help from Adult Protective Services are available specifically for these instances.

Vulnerable adults are most at risk for abuse and violence, and because of this they need to be protected. If you suspect that a vulnerable adult you know has been abused or neglected in some way, speak with them and figure out how you can help them. Don’t ignore the situation, but speak out so something can be done to protect them.

If you have evidence that a loved one is being abused, report it to the police immediately, and seek legal counsel to represent the case.  Hughes & Coleman, Injury Lawyers are nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys located in Kentucky.  For more information about nursing home abuse and neglect, visit the website at www.NursingHomeNeglectLawyers.com.

Signs that Your Child May Be Abused or Neglected at Daycare

child negligenceA daycare is a place where you expect your kids to be safe and happy while you’re away at work. You have to be able to instill trust in a daycare because they are spending just as much time with your children as you do, thus you expect them to protect your youngster. A neglected child is the last thing that you would expect at a daycare, but the sad truth is that some kids are either abused or neglected at daycares all across the country. The important thing is that you’re able to spot the classic signs of the abused or neglected child. Here are some indicative signs that your child may be abused or neglected at daycare.

Changes In Comfort Level Are a Warning Sign

Let’s say that your child has always been happy or even excited to be left behind at daycare. Suddenly, though, your child’s demeanor changes to the point where he’s anxious or reluctant to be left alone at daycare. That can be a very telltale warning sign of either abuse or neglect occurring at the daycare. If your child was abused or neglected at daycare, he’ll naturally exhibit these signs of fear when faced with the prospect of going back there.

Are There Any Unusual Bruises?

Another telltale sign that your child is the abused or neglected child at daycare is the mysterious appearance of bruises on his or her body. This is especially true if you leave your child at daycare with no bruises, and when you pick him up, there are noticeable bruises on his body. Of course, it is always a possibility that your child could have gotten some bruises from the typical play in which kids engage. However, a big, red flag ought to go off in your head if these bruises occur much too frequently.

Withdrawal Is a Suspicious Sign

Children are naturally outgoing, playful and highly energetic. That’s why a child who withdraws and becomes more reserved is suspicious, especially if this withdrawal starts to occur only after you’ve been leaving him at a daycare. A child who begins to become withdrawn could be doing so not only from physical abuse, but also from mental abuse, such as neglect during the time you leave him at daycare. If you see your child becoming more withdrawn, you should investigate.

Does Your Child Flinch?

Flinching is a sign of expecting something bad and forceful to happen. If your child unexpectedly begins to flinch when you do something harmless like raising your hands or arms, then that should also set off alarm bells in your head. If your child was ever hit at daycare, then they’ll develop the flinching reaction as a way to brace them self for what they expect to be another smack in their direction.

An abused or neglected child is an extremely serious issue, especially if it’s your child. Daycare is one of the last places on Earth in which you expect child abuse or neglect to occur, but it does happen from time to time. The best thing parents can do is to be vigilant and monitor their children for signs of abuse or neglect.

If you suspect your child has been a victim of neglect or abuse in their daycare, it is important to find a new daycare and seek the help of a legal representative.  Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law are child care negligence lawyers located in North Carolina.  For more information about negligence and abuse at day care, visit the website at www.LawyerNC.com.