Domestic Violence Awareness

Naperville Family Law Attorneys

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.

Recognizing Domestic Violence in your Relationship

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:

  • Does my partner have unrealistic expectations for me?
  • Is my partner pushing for quick commitment or did he or she do so? This can take the form of moving in together a few months into dating, a quick or short engagement, or pressure to have children early in a relationship;
  • Am I afraid to say certain things to my partner or do certain things in his or her presence
  • Has my relationship isolated me from friends and family?
  • Does my partner frequently speak badly of my friends, family, and others in my life?
  • Am I often told that I am not worthy of love, that I am ugly, that I am worthless, or that I could not survive or be happy without my partner?
  • Can I predict my partner’s behavior beforehand, or is life with him or her a constant roller coaster?
  • Does my partner threaten me?
  • Do I frequently find myself apologizing for saying and doing certain things, especially those that express my needs or my emotions?
  • Do I have to ask permission to do certain things, such as spend money from a joint account or drive the car somewhere?
  • Does my partner equate jealousy and controlling behavior with loving, committed behavior?

It can take a session with a counselor or a heart-to-heart with a good friend to answer these questions honestly.

What Rights Do I Have as a Domestic Violence Victim?

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.

Protecting your Family Against Domestic Violence

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.

Work with an Experienced Naperville Family Law Firm

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.