Domestic Abuse

Tips for Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence is a growing problem in America, and it affects more families than we know, especially since many incidents of domestic violence go unreported. However, if you or someone you know is involved in an abusive situation, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Those who commit abuse don’t often stop on their own so it will be up to you to escape this situation.

Proving Domestic Violence

When it comes to getting out of an abusive situation, this is not something you may be able to do without help. An attorney will help you gather as much of the supporting documentation as possible when attempting to build a case. The evidence needed will often be based primarily on your own testimony and the testimony of witnesses who may have seen the abuse or the injuries caused by the abuse.

Additionally, medical records outlining the treatment you received and police reports for past occurrences may be used as evidence. While past offenses can’t be introduced in most criminal proceedings, cases involving domestic violence are different in that respect in many states. Your attorney can explain the laws in your own state and how they will affect your case.

Even where you may not have enough evidence to go to trial immediately, you may still be able to obtain an order of protection against the abuser. While the burden of proof at trial is to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, there’s a much lower burden in obtaining a protection order. Depending on your state’s laws, you may only need to show that abuse has occurred or is likely to occur in the future.

Helping a Victim of Domestic Violence

If you believe a friend or family member is the victim of domestic violence, it’s important to know how to approach the situation. Direct interference may do more harm than good and could end up with you getting yourself victimized as well. Instead, speak to your loved one and ask about the situation in a nonjudgmental way. The goal should be to get the individual to open up about the abuse and to ensure the victim knows you believe her or him about the abuse. One of the greatest problems victims face is their loved ones often doubt that abuse has occurred.

Express your concern, but don’t try to tell the individual what to do. Many people make the mistake of telling the victim to leave the situation without realizing the risk of more abuse is higher at that point. The decision to leave should be the victim’s sole decision. Always remain supportive of victims of domestic violence. Remember that this person may have no money of her or his own, no place to go, or no means of support. Offer what help you can to the victim so that the person will feel secure in her or his decision to leave the abuser.

You can recommend seeking counseling from a domestic violence support center. Trained professionals will be better equipped to give your loved one the more practical help she or he may need. When the individual does make the decision to leave, you may also suggest consulting an experienced domestic violence attorney. A legal advocate can assist victims with obtaining legal protections that play a part in keeping the victim and children safe from future harm.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Resources 

Attorney Bradley Corbett | Domestic Violence

HG.org | Evidence Needed for a Family Violence Protective Order

Refuge | Support a friend or family member experiencing domestic violence

 

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How Domestic Violence is Threatening Family Life in America

Domestic Violence

Toxic relationships can affect all of us. Sometimes toxic relationships can escalate into something violent. Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent family crimes in the world. While statistics vary in different countries, every country in the world battles with high rates of this horrible blight on humanity. Based on statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the prevalence of domestic violence in America is staggering.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Annually, more than 10 million Americans are victims of domestic violence. One out of every three women and one out of every four men have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. The numbers are even more startling when you look at the statistics per minute. On average, 20 Americans are victims of domestic violence per minute. That means in a day 28,800 Americans are battered. Out of this number, over 20,000 of them reach out to local abuse hotlines across the country every day.

In a country with so many freedoms, it is astounding to see so many people perpetrate crimes of imprisonment and abuse against others. Unfortunately, every American knows several victims of these crimes. Sadly, many people fail to see the signs until it’s too late to stop the heavy toll it can take on victims and their families.

Because of the increasing prevalence of domestic violence, it is imperative that victims understand their rights. It should always be understood that no person is entitled to a relationship with another person and no one is entitled to treat another person as a slave or property. 

The Toll of Domestic Violence

When domestic abuse enters a family, it can adversely affect everyone in the home and can become fatal for the victim(s) if not addressed expeditiously. Women are the primary victims of domestic violence and are often victims of stalking. In fact, one in seven women in America are victims of intimate partner stalking in their lifetime. If these issues arise, it is essential to seek safety to take care of your family. Even the accusation of abuse can be damaging to a family, causing families to split apart. The best advice for anyone, including the accused and accuser, is to follow the guidance of an attorney. Domestic violence attorneys understand the law and criminal justice system.

It should be noted that most abusers will try to excuse and deny their behavior. Because of this, it is vital to realize this is all part of their attempts to continue to dominate and control you. Once the safety and security of your family has been established, domestic abuse victim advocates and attorneys can work with you to ensure the necessary proceedings are handled to cut ties with the abuser safely and legally.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Domestic Violence Ends Where Good Parenting Begins

One of my Facebook friends and loyal readers, Ginnie Ann Daniels, inspired me to pen this present piece about how good parenting can eliminate domestic violence. Ginnie taught her children at an early age about how not to abuse others and those values have persisted throughout their lives. Children are very impressionable. What you do and say to a child can stay with him or her a lifetime. We all know that the horrible things that you say to your child can be very damaging, but we need to know that the positive things that we say to children can last them a lifetime. If we educate our female and male children that it is an abominable thing to engage in abusing others, then we can make significant progress toward ending domestic violence. You have to educate your children about not engaging in any type of violence if we are to end domestic violence. We have to teach children that violence is not simply physical, but it can be mental and emotional. You don’t have to lay your hands on a person to abuse him or her. It is important for us to communicate this to children. When they have an early understanding about abuse and the harm that it does, then the anti-violence values we place in them will be much more likely to persist throughout their adulthood.

I contend that good parenting must include education about how to be a civil person. When you abuse someone, you are not being civil. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children about how to be civil members of society.

Don’t think that just because you have girls that this excludes you from teaching them about not abusing others. Females engage in abusing males too. Don’t get it twisted! It is much less talked about and underreported. Teach your girls about how to respect other females and males.

I strongly oppose parents who rear their boys to become thugs. When you rear your boys to become thugs or to develop overly aggressive behavior, you are making them ripe candidates to be abusive to women. The overly aggressive and thuggish behavior that they develop as little children will most likely continue on into their adult lives. You have a great opportunity to train them as little boys to develop healthier behavior that is going to promote civility.

Schools need to play a stronger role in helping children to learn about and understand the different forms of violence. Our children need to have a more sophisticated understanding about what abuse and violence is. I would like to see schools that use “character education” place more emphasis on educating students about different forms of violence and abuse. I think that even History courses serve as valuable opportunities to teach students about how to avoid abuse and violence and to educate them about the consequences of abuse and violence. For instance, when discussing issues about war, this gives teachers an opportunity to tell students about how abuse and violence played an instrumental role in the causes and consequences of the war(s) being discussed.

Although I want schools to increase their efforts to educate students about abuse and violence, I want parents to place an even greater emphasis on education about abuse and violence. Don’t always look for schools to be the answer to the social, cognitive, and emotional development needs of your children.

I am not saying that you should not teach your children about self-defense, but what I am saying is that you should teach them to avoid unnecessary abuse and violence.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison