Domestic Violence

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.

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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.

Editors’ note: see our guide to some of the best US divorce attorneys here.

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

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.

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  • 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:

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  • 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.

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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.

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5 Things Social Workers Need to Understand About Hate Crimes

5 Things Social Workers Need to Understand About Hate Crimes

Though many people consider “hate crimes” to be relatively new phenomena thanks, in part, to tougher laws being enacted around the country, the truth is this: Hate crimes in America are as old as the country itself. Crimes have been committed against individuals and groups based on race, gender, religious preference, sexual orientation and cultural background for centuries. If social workers hope to help people dealing with hate crimes, a deeper understanding must be had. Here are five things that social workers need to understand about this brand of crime:

1.Diversity Education

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One of the ways to prevent children from turning into perpetrators of hate crimes is to teach them about acceptance at an early age. Social workers can work in conjunction with teachers and families to ensure that young, elementary-aged children learn to respect each other’s differences, celebrating them rather than berating them. The NCPC has excellent lessons for children in grades one through five that center around diversity.

2.What Constitutes a Hate Crime?

Most of us are aware that a crime committed against a person because of their race or sexual orientation is considered a hate crime. But what else may constitute a hate crime? This information is important for every social worker to have. A victim of a hate crime is singled out because of perception. The perpetrator holds a certain perception about the proposed victim’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, physical handicap, mental disability, marital status, personal appearance, family responsibility, political affiliation or matriculation.

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Hate crimes do not have to be violent. Examples of non-violent hate crimes include verbal abuse, telephone harassment, the painting of swastikas or other hate symbols, the use of racial slurs and cemetery desecration. A hate crime need not be violent to have a profound effect on the victim and friends and family of the victim.

3.Victim Responses

Just as with reactions to illness, death and other devastating events, people respond differently when they, or the ones they love, become victims of a hate crime. Victims of hate crimes typically report feelings of anger couples with feelings of betrayal. There can be an overwhelming sense of powerlessness, resentment, isolation and sadness. Victims of hate crimes may also have an aroused, even paranoid, sense of suspicion. Victims of hate crimes report drastic changes in lifestyle as a result of their attack, whether mental or physical. As a social worker, it’s important to sit back and listen to the victim, gaining an understanding of just what effect the crime has had in order to provide the best therapy.

4.The Right Not to Report

Much like a victim of rape has the choice whether or not to report the crime, regardless of the seeking of treatment, a victim of a hate crime is not required to file a report with law enforcement. Regardless of personal beliefs, social workers must support whichever choice the victim makes. In some cases, medical personnel may be required to report the attack, however, it is still the victim’s right to not pursue hate-crime related charges.

5.Victim Assistance

Social workers should seek out resources of assistance within their local communities for victims of hate crime. Having this information on hand and immediately available will make the therapeutic process less stressful for the victim. Beyond local resources, social workers should know about national programs such as Network of Victim Assistance, National Center for Victims of Crime and the American Civil Liberties Union.

For social workers, understanding hate crimes is an important facet of the profession. Along with understanding what constitutes a hate crime, social workers must understand their impact and the resources available for victims and their families. For more information on hate crimes, be sure to visit NOVA, an all-encompassing site for victim assistance.

Robert Neff is a writer who brings awareness to world events such as hate crimes. Social workers help victims of the crimes. If you are interested in a career as a social worker check out Case Western’s online MSW degree.

Domestic Violence

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.

Domestic Violence

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.

Domestic Violence

What To Do About Domestic Violence Before Its Too Late

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.

Legal Considerations

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.

Domestic Violence

What is Elderly Abuse? How Can I Help?

(US Law) Elderly Abuse is known as the different acts that involve harm to older people. Other terms are associated with elder abuse such as old adult maltreatment, old adult abuse and senior citizen abuse among others. There are plenty of organizations that deal with elderly abuse, but the general rule of thumb is that any excessive force, either physically or psychologically, is considered abusive. This can even be if your intention is to help the elderly person, which creates some grey area problems for health workers.

Several cases of elderly abuse are included in the kinds of family or domestic violence. Elderly abuse does not involve any criminal acts to the elderly, such as victimization in robbery, theft, or ambush. They are classified as criminal offences, not elderly abuse. Elderly abuse is now a social dilemma because of its high incidence. What is more saddening is that many cases are not reported or unknown.

Elderly abuse is a complicated case and people often have misapprehensions regarding this kind of abuse. Contrary to what people think, elderly abuse does not just occur in nursing homes. Although it may happen, the usual kind of elderly abuse does not take place there. It could happen anywhere, even at places we are in. Truth is, several cases of elder abuse occur at home, where the close relationships of the elderly are. The typical kind of abuse in the home is neglect of the elderly. Physical and emotional abuse occurs as a result of the weakness and dependency of the old adult to the family members. As old adults age, it is understood that they become frail and feeble, and they cannot do things without assistance. Lack of patience and understanding in the part of the caregiver can lead to abuse.

The usual victims of elderly abuse are ailing, feeble, mentally challenged, disabled and miserable old adults. Then again, even those who do not have these characteristics are still risk; but those stated prior are the most susceptible to elderly abuse.

The physical harm of elderly can be in forms of pushing, jostling, slapping and in severe forms tying in ropes and beating. Any person who uses force against an elder that results to trauma and pain, is an abuser. The deprivation of primary needs and home imprisonment of old adults are also forms of elder abuse.

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Here are common examples on the types of elder abuse:

• Physical Abuse: This includes beating, slapping, shoving, thumping, kicking, tying up/restraining, false confinement, and any use of physical force that leads to injury.

• Emotional Abuse: This includes provoking fear, shouting, degrading, embarrassing, rejecting, accusing, disrespecting, mocking, condemning and ignoring an elderly.

• Financial Abuse or Exploitation: This is the unlawful use of the elder’s money, properties and possessions achieved through trickery, force or pilfering. The non-provision of financial support and expulsion from the home which belongs to the elderly are also included.

• Sexual Abuse: This includes coercing an elderly to participate in any sexual act and discussion against his or her will, even in cases where the elderly can not willfully give permission due to dementia.

• Neglect: This is the kind of abuse where the elderly is deprived of their primary or basic physical needs like food, clothes, medications and medical assistance. It could be on purpose, or due to lack of awareness.

There are also other kinds of abuse like abuse of human rights or elderly rights, abandonment or desertion of elderly and institutional abuse which is the physical and emotional abuse to elders in health institutions/nursing homes.

There are ways on preventing and reducing the incidence of elder abuse. First, you can reach out to seniors, this way seclusion will be reduced. You can reach out through visits or getting involved in activities that provide elder support. You can also invite them small family activities and gatherings. Let them get involved by asking them to teach knitting or cooking skills to you and the family. You can also volunteer in nursing homes to have hands on care to older adults. Promote senior involvement by inviting them in programs for the elderly.

If there is suspicion of occurrence of abuse or if you actually witnessed an abuse, call the emergency number of your community. Any form if abuse should never be tolerated. Contact immediately the support for the elderly institution or department to prevent further abuse.

Pete Wise is a Content Marketer. If you or a loved one has been involved in elder abuse and neglect, you should also seek an elder abuse attorney to represent you. An elder abuse lawyer can help walk you through what legal options are available and which course of action should be taken.