Dealing With Domestic Violence: What Are Your Options?
Domestic violence is considered battery—a punishable crime—according to the Illinois State Police. All too often, domestic violence victims live under the misconception that just because their spouse physically hits them, there is no actual crime being committed. Their husband is simply being the “man of the house” or showing “tough love”. There are countless reasons victims use to explain or try to rationalize why their spouse physically hurts them. According to the law, though, there is almost never a justifiable reason for striking or beating another person.
Should You Stay or Go?
Did you know that in the United States, a woman is beaten every fifteen seconds, and two in five women who are murdered are actually deaths caused by domestic violence at the hands of their husbands? The alarming statistics go on and on, and include both male and female victims. People who find themselves victims of domestic violence are constantly faced with a crucial choice: to stay or to leave.
Should you decide to stay, it is important to do the following in order to protect yourself:
- Communicate with your neighbors and ask them to call the police if/when the abuser shows up;
- Change your locks and install a security system;
- Make sure the grounds that surround your home are well-lit at night;
- Have emergency phone numbers readily on hand. Pre-programming them is even better; and
- Call 9-1-1 the second the abuser violates or attempts to violate an existing order of protection.
Leaving also presents its own risks, but it can be done. Should you decide to pack up and leave, be sure to bring the following with you:
- Keys for your car and home;
- Money, checkbook, credit cards, and identification;
- Other important documents, such as birth certificates, work permits, and social security cards. Anything that will help identify you (or your children) will be helpful as you establish a new, safe residence;
- A copy of your order of protection;
- Medical records and medications;
- Spare clothing and sentimental items; and
- Address book and important phone numbers.
Who Can Help?
Along with the emotional support of family, friends, support groups, and a certified, professional therapist, help for victims of domestic violence can be found through the guidance of a knowledgeable family law attorney. An attorney can help educate you and protect your rights in a court of law, while police can offer assistance with things like accompanying you to your property to collect personal belongings and making sure you have safe transportation when you leave the property.
If you are dealing with an abusive spouse or domestic partner, contact an experienced family lawyer in Orland Park today. We will work with you to get the protection you need for yourself and your children. Call 708-518-8200 to schedule a confidential consultation right away.