Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States, and it is unfortunately found in virtually every community. While many people think of domestic violence as only physical violence, the fact is that domestic violence can involve verbal abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse.
How Does Domestic Violence Begin?
In many cases, domestic violence starts off small. A husband may become angry with his wife for not cooking dinner that night, leading to an argument and threats of physical harm. Over time, as explained by one Indianapolis personal injury attorney, this kind of behavior can escalate, ultimately leading to physical violence and more. As the abuser continues to test and surpass boundaries, he or she may then begin to increase the level of domestic violence, and this can even lead to murder.
The Signs of Domestic Violence
As mentioned, domestic violence can take many forms, so outward signs may not always be apparent. While obvious signs, such as blackened eyes or split lips, may signify that a person is being abused, other signs, such as the inability to leave the house, should not be ignored. Many times, abusers will treat their victims as property, meaning that the victim can not have friends or talk with family members. In addition, emotional changes in mood or changes in behavior may also signify that someone is being abused.
What Can You Do?
If you have found yourself in an abusive relationship, it may seem hard to leave. You may love your significant other, and you may truly believe that they will amend their ways. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking typically only leads to increased violence and even death. In order to leave your abusive relationship, you may want to work with a shelter in your area. Shelters often have resources for individuals who are attempting to leave abusive relationships, and they can also offer temporary housing while you reorganize your life. You need to also consider relying on friends and family members for help, as these individuals can form a support net for you.
Is a Loved One Being Abused?
If a loved one is being abused, you may be feeling powerless to do anything about it right now. While you have given your advice and support to the victim, he or she continues to stay in the same situation. One way, however, that you can help the situation is by speaking with a law enforcement officer about your concerns. A police officer or sheriff’s deputy will be able to asses the situation and give you options for putting an end to the abuse. Although you may be worried that speaking to law enforcement may make things worse, doing nothing is actually the worst thing that you can do.
If you’ve been abused, you may also want to speak with a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for any injuries you’ve sustained. While domestic violence is a criminal issue and should be pursued through law enforcement, you may also be entitled to financial compensation in a civil personal injury case. Your attorney will be able to offer you options that pertain to your specific experiences, and in many cases, an attorney can also help you to put more space in between yourself and your abuser.
As mentioned, domestic violence can occur in any community and to anyone. Men, women and children can all be the victims of domestic violence, and far too often, these victims suffer in silence. For more information on how you can give a voice to the voiceless, contact your local women’s shelter or speak with your local Social Services office. These entities often have volunteer opportunities that will allow you to help out victims of domestic violence and more.
This article was written by Georgina Clatworthy, a legal writer and former editor of a respected law blog. She is now a contributing writer for the Indianapolis personal injury attorney firm, Sevenish Law. As a law firm with many years experience of handling personal injury cases they are able to deal with damages claims from domestic violence victims, sensitively and with understanding.