Answers to frequently asked questions about spousal abuse
Domestic violence affects millions of people across the country. It can take the help of others to help victims escape.
Every day throughout the United States, millions of people are victimized by their spouses or romantic partners. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 15 percent of all violent crime in the country is attributed to intimate partner violence. It can be extremely difficult for North Carolina residents to escape an abusive marriage. Ending a marriage is never easy, but comes with additional challenges when abuse is a factor. The following are some the most frequently asked questions when it comes to domestic violence.
What are the signs of abuse?
Spousal abuse is not limited to physical attacks against another person. In fact, abusive spouses may go years without striking their partners, if ever. Abuse may present itself in many forms, but usually involves one partner attempting to dominate all aspects of the other person’s life. An abuser may threaten, belittle and psychologically harm his or her partner. The victim may be forbidden to work outside the home, use transportation or see family and friends. The abuser may restrict his or her partner from having access to money, the phone and the Internet. There is often some form of sexual coercion or abuse against the victim as well.
How can I escape an abusive marriage?
Abusive spouses usually go to great lengths to prevent victims from leaving. This is why the emotional and physical domination as mentioned above is so common. Escaping an abusive situation is not easy, but can be possible with the right help. Domestic violence shelters, counselors and law enforcement have programs to assist the victims of abuse in making an escape. It is important to create an escape plan first before leaving. This may entail gathering evidence of the abuse (such as photos of physical injuries or journal entries describing the abuser’s behavior), letting a trusted loved one know about the situation and asking for help and obtaining a protective order.
How does a protective order work?
Protective orders, also known as restraining orders, are temporary documents issued by the court that protect victims against their abusers. The protective order prohibits the abuser from making contact with or approaching victims, including children, at their places of work, schools, online or by telephone. A protective order can give victims the needed time to go to a safe place, such as a domestic violence shelter, and to begin divorce proceedings. After a brief period, the abuser has the chance to defend himself or herself against the accusations in the order in court. This is why it is necessary to obtain as much evidence against the abuser as possible.
Victims of abuse in North Carolina should seek help from a family law attorney with experience in domestic violence cases. Assistance from organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting the victims of spousal abuse may help them safely escape and begin a new life free of fear and danger.