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DuPage County domestic violence attorneysDomestic violence is, unfortunately, a widespread problem in the United States. Each year, more than 12 million people are victims of physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and this abuse often extends to children in the household as well. If you or a family member is suffering from domestic abuse in Illinois, an order of protection can help keep you safe from the perpetrator. An experienced attorney can help you understand how an order of protection works and which type of order is best for your situation.

What is an Order of Protection?

In Illinois, an order or protection can prevent an alleged abuser from continued abuse, physical contact, proximity, and communication with the person who has been abused, as well as that person’s children, dependents, or legal guardians. Orders of protection are enforced by local law enforcement officers, and they can be filed independently or together with a petition related to divorce, parental responsibilities, guardianship, or adoption

Depending on the nature and severity of your situation, you may be able to pursue one of three types of protective orders:

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Wheaton domestic violence attorneysAccording to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), as many as one in three women and one in four men will experience at least some level of domestic abuse in their lifetimes. Of those, one in three women and one in nine men will experience severe abuse. As alarming as these statistics are, victims can lead a normal, healthy, and functional life after a violent relationship. The first step is recognizing that there may be a problem. 

Early Signs of Domestic Violence 

Contrary to what some people may believe, abusive relationships rarely start out violent. In fact, most abusers are quite skilled at being charming, and while they may come on strong, their actions and behaviors seem loving and genuine. In time, things change and these early signs of domestic violence start to emerge, such as:

  • The abuser wrongfully accusing the victim of cheating or flirting;
  • The abuser losing their temper and throwing or breaking things;
  • The abuser attempting to impose stereotypical gender roles;
  • The abuser accusing the victim of changing and blaming their actions on this;
  • The abuser being unreasonably jealous of friends, co-workers, and other family members;
  • The abuser attempting to isolate the victim from their social circle;
  • The abuser telling the victim that everyone else is bad for them;
  • The abuser making excuses after losing their temper;
  • The abuser referring to their cruelty as a “joking;”
  • The abuser pressuring the victim into sexual activities;
  • The abuser attempting to control money, transportation, or internet and cell phone usage; or
  • The abuser going through the victim’s phone or personal belongings, looking for “evidence.” 

Signs the Abuse is Progressing 

Once the abuser has a foothold, the violence may escalate. Rather than simply yell or throw things, they may pinch, bite, shove, or slap the victim. Once the physical aspects start, the cycle becomes more vicious, often to the point that victims will do anything to avoid setting off their abuser. 

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Wheaton orders of protection lawyersThe coronavirus shutdown may have been a reprieve for the overworked and disconnected. Still, for the victims of domestic violence, the entire experience may have more closely resembled an inescapable nightmare.

Trapped at home, nowhere go when arguments erupted. The potential loss of finances, elevating tensions within the home. The realization that you are no longer safe in your marriage.

If this was more along the lines of your experience during the quarantine period, it might be time for you to move forward with the divorce process. However, the next steps need to be cautionary and guided. Your safety—and perhaps even the safety of your children—are on the line.

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DuPage County family law attorneysFor most divorcing parents, the primary concern is the safety and well-being of their child. The weight of that concern increases even further when there is a family history of domestic violence. Thankfully, there are preventative measures that parents can take to protect their child from abuse during and after a divorce. Learn how to utilize them through your Illinois parenting plan, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton divorce attorneys can assist with the process. 

Domestic Violence and the Propensity for Child Abuse 

Spousal abuse is not a definitive predictor for child abuse, as some abusers will harm their intimate partners but do not their children. Domestic violence within the home is considered a risk factor for child abuse, however, because it indicates that the abuser has a propensity for violence. Victims are encouraged to watch for potential signs of abuse in their child and to take preventative measures to protect their child from the possibility of violence or abuse. 

Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse 

Victims of domestic violence tend to be astutely aware of the signs of physical abuse, such as unexplained (or poor explanations for the causes of) bruising, scrapes, and broken bones, they may be less likely to notice the subtler psychological signs. Often, this is because the victim is still healing and does not recognize the ways that abuse has changed their own personality. As a reference, consider these non-physical signs of abuse to determine if your child is being victimized by your spouse: 

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Illinois domestic violence lawyersDomestic violence impacts an estimated one in three women and one in four men experience intimate partner violence. Children are also impacted by domestic violence, regardless of whether they are abused themselves. Still, with one report of abuse being made every 10 seconds, their rate of abuse is just as concerning. 

A restraining order can provide all of these abuse victims with legal protections to keep them safe from their abuser. However, there are minimum requirements that must be met in order to obtain one.

The Legal Definition of Domestic Violence 

Not all hurtful actions are legally defined as domestic violence. Instead, the victim must have experienced:

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