Domestic Violence. How Can I Protect my Family?

DuPage County Family Law Attorney

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month, individuals and groups are encouraged to wear purple to support domestic violence awareness and start conversations to bring a greater understanding to the issue. Many people do not realize the various forms domestic violence can take or the long-term effects it can have on a victim or a victim’s family. Further, many people do not realize the legal rights that domestic violence victims have or the penalties that can come with a domestic violence conviction. In Illinois, individuals convicted of domestic violence may not purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition. Further, any individual who violates an order of protection following the threat of violence using a firearm may not own a firearm or possess ammunition.

How an Order of Protection Can Protect You

If you are a victim of domestic violence or you fear that you could be in danger of harm at the hands of your partner, consider filing an order of protection against him or her. An order of protection is a court order that prohibits an abusive individual from threatening or even contacting his or her victim. It can also be used to require an abuser to attend counseling sessions, pay child support to his or her victim, prohibit the abuser from taking or destroying certain property that belongs to the victim, and prohibit the abuser from accessing his or her child’s records or taking the child out of state.

There are three different types of order of protection available to Illinois domestic violence victims. They are:

  • Emergency orders of protection, which remain in place 14 to 21 days and are issued when there is an immediate threat of harm;
  • Interim orders of protection, which can remain in place for up to 30 days. These are temporary orders often issued prior to plenary orders of protection; and
  • Plenary orders of protection. These may remain in place for up to two years. They may only be ordered after a hearing, during which the individual seeking protection must demonstrate his or her need for the order.

Know How to Recognize Domestic Violence in your Relationship

You cannot protect yourself and your family from domestic violence if you cannot recognize it. There are multiple types of domestic violence: emotional, financial, physical, sexual, and psychological. More than one type of abuse can be present in a relationship. What all types and manifestations of domestic violence have in common is the abuser’s attempt to control his or her victim.

Emotional abuse is the attempt to control a victim by manipulating him or her into complying with the abuser’s demands. For example, putting the victim into a scenario where he or she feels the need to earn the abuser’s affection is emotional abuse.

Financial abuse is the use of financial dependence to maintain control of a victim. Prohibiting a victim from spending money or holding a job, making financial decisions for the couple without the victim’s input, and using the victim’s name or account to accrue debt without his or her consent are all forms of financial abuse.

Physical abuse is any type of physical harm committed against a victim. This can include hitting, kicking, and shoving as well as denying the victim food, water, or medication.

Sexual abuse is any unwelcome or unwanted sexual contact with the victim. Rape, molestation, and pimping the victim for money are all forms of sexual abuse.

Psychological abuse is similar to emotional abuse, but works to tear down the victim’s ability to trust him- or herself. Repeatedly undermining a victim, telling him or her that he or she is incompetent, and making the victim feel like he or she is always wrong or unable to remember events as they actually occurred are all types of psychological abuse.

What to Do if you are In an Abusive Relationship

Develop a plan to exit the home safely. If you need help with this, call the Illinois Domestic Violence hotline. Through the hotline, you can reach a shelter for domestic violence victims and access services such as counseling and transportation services to leave your home.

Work with an Experienced Wheaton Family Law Firm

After you have reached a safe space and gotten the help that you need, consider filing an Order of Protection against your former partner and then ending the marriage through divorce. An experienced DuPage County family lawyer can help you with both of these processes as well as the legal processes related to them, such as the determination of parenting time and the creation of a child support order. Schedule your initial consultation with a member of our team at Abear Law Offices when you are ready to take the next step toward ending your marriage.

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