Although many people do feel safe at home, abuse does occur within families and households. Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects thousands of families annually. To make matters worse, many people do not know their options for combating or escaping domestic violence situations.
If you are in a situation where you do not feel safe in your own home, you likely have a domestic violence claim. There are several legal resources available to you to get out of your abusive situation and into a safe environment. In fact, the law is on your side as the victim of domestic violence.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Many people believe that domestic violence is physical violence that occurs between romantic partners. Although this can certainly be the case, it is not the full picture of what domestic violence is. The type of violence often varies, as do the relationships in which it occurs.
Types of domestic violence include:
- Physical: This includes kicking, punching, hitting, tripping, cutting, stalking, and more.
- Sexual: This can involve rape, trafficking, assault, and more.
- Financial: The abuser may withhold shared finances or use money to control a person’s behavior.
- Emotional: These include insults, putdowns, threats, and more.
- Psychological: This may involve gaslighting, manipulation, lying, and more.
These domestic violence offenses do not just occur between intimate partners, such as spouses or those who are dating. They can happen between:
- Parent and child
- Grandparent and child
Any time you live with or have a close relationship with someone who ultimately abuses you, you are in a domestic violence situation.
Temporary Action Against Domestic Violence
If you have identified a domestic abuse situation, there are many options available to you. Perhaps the most straightforward route is to contact the authorities about the abuse. When the police arrive at a scene of domestic violence, they are legally obligated to prevent further harm to the victim. This usually means removing the alleged aggressor from the home and offering a temporary protective order.
Temporary protective orders keep an aggressor away from their victim until the victim can obtain a more permanent protective order. The victim usually has fourteen days to take further action. The aggressor is removed from the home, and the victim is permitted to stay, regardless of whose name is on the lease or deed.
Seeking Legal Help
If you are in a domestic violence situation, it is of the utmost importance that you seek legal counsel. An attorney can help you navigate the complicated world of domestic violence. They can also help you seek a divorce if one is appropriate in your situation.
Although temporary protective orders are fairly easy to obtain, permanent or lasting protective orders are more difficult. You will have to offer evidence of abuse to a judge and fight for your right to safety. If you have been traumatized by the experience, as many victims have, it can be emotionally difficult to relive your experiences in court. Because of this, it is very helpful to have a qualified attorney on your side.
Orders of Protection in Chicago
If you are looking for lasting protection from domestic violence, you and your attorney can file a claim through the county clerk’s office. With this claim, you will have to offer proof of the abuse or the threat of violence. In cases of rape, a medical examination will likely be necessary.
An order of protection can offer you possession of your residence and repossession of your property, such as pets and personal items. It may also grant you temporary custody of shared children while also granting child support. In many cases, these orders also prevent an alleged abuser from obtaining a firearm or other weapons.
Once you have an order of protection, you can take further action to divorce your abuser or seek further justice. Domestic violence is a criminal offense, so the law may prosecute the alleged aggressor on your behalf.
Q: Can Men Be Victims of Domestic Violence in Chicago?
A: Abuse and domestic violence do not discriminate based on gender. Every year, thousands of men around the world are victims of domestic violence. Do not let gender prevent you from taking action against someone who is hurting you. There are resources and options available for those of all genders who have faced abuse or violence in the home.
Q: Can I Take Domestic Violence Action Against a Threat?
A: Yes. An aggressor does not have to actually harm you to be charged with domestic violence. A credible threat of violence is grounds for a domestic violence claim. You may seek full protection against someone in your household who has threatened to hurt you in any way. In fact, it is often advantageous to take action against threats. It lowers your likelihood of being physically, sexually, mentally, or emotionally abused.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney for a Domestic Violence Claim?
A: Although a lawyer is not legally required for a domestic violence claim, it is to your benefit to hire one. An attorney can advocate for your rights in court. They can also work to obtain maximum protection for you and your children. There may be options available to you that cannot be obtained without legal help. Therefore, it is advantageous to hire legal counsel for your domestic violence claim. Although the state does what it can, a personal advocate is highly beneficial.
Q: Can I Get Custody If My Co-Parent Is Abusive?
A: If the court determines that your child’s other parent has committed domestic violence, it is entirely possible for you to get full custody. The other parent can also be forced to pay child support. The court’s top priority in custody decisions is the health and safety of the children involved. Being in a dangerous or abusive household is not safe or supportive for anyone, especially children. The state will move quickly to remove an abuser’s parental rights.
Contact Stange Law Firm in Chicago
Our team has a wide range of experience with family law issues. We can offer support and resources for those who need them. To learn more, or to take action against domestic violence, contact Stange Law Firm for a consultation.