Domestic violence is a crime. Every 15 seconds in the U.S., a woman is beaten. Domestic violence results in more injuries that require medical attention than rape, accidents and muggings. At least 95 percent of all cases of partner abuse involve a man beating a woman. Domestic abuse also happens to people and families of all classes and races. Violence is often a pattern of threats, insults, jealousy, and attempts to overpower and isolate the woman involved.
Any person who threatens bodily harm or interferes with the personal liberty of another member of the family or household has also broken Illinois domestic violence law. In Illinois, family and household members are defined as:
- Family members related by blood;
- Spouses or former spouses;
- People who cohabitat one dwelling (or used to cohabitate);
- People who share custody or have a blood relationship through a child or children;
- People who used to date each other (including same sex couples); or
- People with disabilities and their personal assistants.
Legal Orders of Protection
If you have suffered abuse in a family situation, you are not without legal recourse. You can obtain court injunctions (or an order of protection) to keep your abuser away from formerly shared domestic situations, schools, and/or professional locations, whether or not you are married, divorced, or such proceedings are currently underway.
An order of protection is obtained via a court, and it restricts that person from committing further harm by limiting his or her ability to do so. These orders can include outright physical restrictions, or restrictions if the abuser is drinking or using drugs. Such injunctions also require accused abusers to turn over weapons or even attend counseling.
Seek Protection Immediately
In addition to alerting law enforcement of all acts of violence, as well as filing an order of protection, it is highly recommended that victims take additional precautions to defend themselves if they have reason to believe they are not safe. This includes changing the locks, installing a security system, pre-programming emergency numbers into both landline and mobile phones, and notifying neighbors to call the police if they see any suspicious activity. Those who share common property with an abuser will also be well advised to immediately secure all assets that might be accessed by the perpetrator, including check books, ATM cards, bank and savings accounts, important personal papers (such as birth certificates and social security cards), medical records, and pictures or other items of sentimental value.
Contact an Attorney Immediately
Unfortunately domestic violence is a situation that can linger for some time as the abuser gradually understands that severe penalties can accrue for violating restraining orders and other legally mandated protections. When facing such situations, it is always a good idea, in addition to contacting law enforcement, to talk to a highly qualified DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your options for ending this cycle. Contact Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today for immediate help with your case.