October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) works to raise awareness about domestic violence and educate people about its effects and ways to recognize it. Domestic violence destroys victims physically, psychologically, and emotionally. At its core, domestic violence is about control. Abusers harm their victims and tear them down in an effort to maintain control over the partner. Domestic violence can occur in any type of relationship, regardless of the couple's age, education or socioeconomic level, race, or sexual orientation. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can consider filing an Order of Protection against your former partner to ensure that you remain safe in the days, weeks, and even years following your separation.
Domestic violence comes in many forms. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or financial. It is also fairly common for more than one type of abuse to be present in a relationship.
If you are not sure if you are experiencing domestic violence in your relationship, ask yourself the following questions:
It can take a session with a counselor or a heart-to-heart with a good friend to answer these questions honestly.
If you determine that you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to know your rights. You have the right to seek safety in a shelter for domestic violence victims. You also have the right to report the abuse to the police.
You have the right to testify against your partner in court and you have the right to file an Order of Protection against him or her. While your case is pending, you also have the right to privacy. If the court convicts your former partner of domestic violence under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, you may have the right to recover restitution for your financial damages related to the abuse.
An Order of Protection, also known as a restraining order, can be used to prohibit your former partner from contacting you. This can also be used to grant you temporary sole custody of your children and bar your former partner from accessing their records. If you feel you are in danger of harm, speak with a lawyer about filing an Order of Protection.
One of the most permanent ways to protect yourself and your family from further harm is to divorce your partner. After you have left the home and if necessary, obtained an emergency Order of Protection or had it changed to an Interim or Plenary Order of Protection, speak with an experienced divorce lawyer about legally ending your marriage.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is crucial to protect yourself and your family. You can work with Illinois Domestic Violence Victim Services to develop a strategy to get out of your home safely and access the resources you need to stay out. Once you are safe, talk to an experienced Naperville family and divorce lawyer about filing for divorce. Our team at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. can help you end your marriage through driven, compassionate legal representation. Contact our firm to schedule your initial meeting with us.