Domestic Violence – Abusive Relationships

Domestic violence is not limited to marriage, and the protections of the law are available to men as well as women, and to partners in a same – sex relationship. It can take a wide range of forms, from physical violence to emotional or even economic abuse. Unfortunately, most domestic violence victims feel helpless, fearing that the law won’t protect them, that they somehow deserve the abuse, or that they would rather accept the abuse than be alone. There are ways to protect yourself—help is available.

The Nature of Domestic Abuse

Though domestic abuse is often referred to as spousal abuse, it actually applies to all situations where two people are cohabitating, whether you are in a domestic partnership or a same – sex relationship. Domestic violence generally serves one purpose—it allows the abuser to exert control over the victim. Because the ultimate goal is control, the abuser may use a variety of methods to obtain power of a victim, including beatings, threats of violence, guilt, shame and intimidation.

In every relationship, there are disagreements, right? In fact, if there are no disagreements, it may be one of the indicators that there is unhealthy control being exerted by one of the parties. But when does disagreement rise to the level of domestic abuse? Clearly, when verbal abuse escalates to physical violence, it has crossed the line. With the possible exception of self – defense, there is never a situation where physical violence between spouses or domestic partners is acceptable. Sexual abuse between partners or spouses can also be difficult to determine. However, whenever your partner forces you to engage in a sexual act against your will, or uses other threats or intimidation to coerce you into performing a sexual act, it is likely that you have been the victim of domestic abuse.

With respect to emotional or economic abuse, the signs can be even more subtle. Do you find that your spouse or partner repeatedly uses guilt, shame or humiliation to diminish your self-esteem, so that you comply with their wishes? Does your partner call you whenever you go out alone, even to the grocery store, to check where you are and when you will be home? Does your spouse take your paycheck and give you nothing or little in return, or refuse to provide you with money to meet your most basic needs? Will they only allow you to go out in public if they come along?

Noticing the early signs of domestic abuse and taking steps to stop them can often prevent the escalation that results in physical injury.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-233-5292. Se habla Espãnol.

Recognizing the Signs of Domestic Violence

Do you have a loved one that you think might be the victim of domestic violence or abuse? Unfortunately, in many domestic violence situations, the victims will go to great lengths to cover up the signs of abuse, fearing that they will be subject to further abuse, or that others will blame them for allowing themselves to become victims. This blog post identifies the typical warning signs of domestic violence.

How to Spot a Victim of Domestic Abuse

Though you can never be certain what happens in the privacy of someone’s home, there are behavioral traits that are common among victims of domestic violence. The violence may not necessarily be physical, but may take the form of psychological, emotional or economic control. Some of the early indications of the possibility of domestic abuse include:

• Always agreeing with anything a partner says or does
• Calling a partner or spouse on a regular basis to “check in” or report where they are and what they are doing
• Receiving frequent phone calls from partners or spouses
• Seeming afraid of or anxious to please a partner or spouse
• Making references to a partner’s possessiveness, jealousy or temper

Frequently, one of the tools that an abuser will use to exert control is to try to isolate the victim from all outside influence. If a person never seems to be available to see you, or won’t go out in public without their spouse or partner, it can be a warning sign that their partner is limiting their access to others. A particularly effective way of doing this may be to deprive the victim of money, credit cards or a vehicle, so that they can’t go anywhere and have no funds to do anything.

If the abuse is psychological, one of the first signs may be a personality change. A person who used to seem confident, but now seems tentative, may be the victim of domestic abuse. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal words or acts are all ways that victims respond to domestic violence.

The warning signs of physical violence may be just as difficult to see, as victims may use a variety of means to keep others from seeing the evidence. They may seem to “overdress,” wearing long sleeves in warm weather, or dark glasses inside. They may choose not to come to work, school or social functions. If they must get out, they may frequently show injuries, but always have an excuse…an accident that was entirely their fault.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-233-5292. Se habla Espãnol.

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